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Exftmiiifttioit Srhooli, 
High Street, Oxford. 


Sny t)«»Umfi ii.f><r* at* hit. Hihr*^ with Y'^Vi^r 


Nini "ifi iiin iini Hill inii mI'i mil iiinjrrwi jni t 


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" Past and FaTDBx are the wings 
On whose support^ harmoniously combined. 
Moves the great spirit of human knowledge." 






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Chaptbk 1 3 

Chaptbk II 28 

Chaptke III 50 

Chapter IV. 76 

Chaptee V 98 

Chapter YI 118 

Chapter VII 186 

Chapter VIII 168 

Chapter IX. 178 

Chapter X . , 200 

Chapter XI 222 

Chapter XII 247 

Chapter XIII. 262 

Chapter XIV 280 

Chapter XV 808 

Note to Chapter XV 881 

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TOL n. 

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N 1824, 1 am settled as a Publisher in a 
newly-built house in PaU Mall East, the 
next house to the College of Physicians. 
I had occupied for a year a much smaller 
]dace of business on the opposite side of the way. 
This was alt<^ther a new neighbourhood. The 
neglected open space, on the north of which stands 
the Eiing^s Mews" (voL i. p. 117), was still open and 
still neglected. On the west side of what ia now 
called Tia&lgar Square, houses had grown up, which 
were terminated towards Charing Cross by the Union 
Club. But there was as yet no Nelson's column ; 
no jEbuntains in the centre, to be ridiculed as dumb- 
waiters. In the open space, there was an exhibition 
of the skeleton of a whale. The Eing^s Mews was 
stin there — a building of higher architectural -pre- 
tensions than the National Gallery ; for th,e architect, 
K^t, has left his mark upon his age as the professor 
of an Art with higher capabilities than consist in 
copying ancient models. The Mews was silent and 
desolate tiU a year or two later, when it was occu- 
pied, not by the Boyal Hawks, as of old, but by Mr. 
Cross's Menagerie, removed from Exeter Change. 

B 2 

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The lions and tigers were not very agreeable neigh- 
bours — ^for they began to roar before day-break, and 
on Sundays they roared from morning till night, 
that being their fast-day. The wild beasts went 
their way to more appropriate quarters, when the 
Zoological Gardens sprang into existence. Part of 
the Mews was then given up to the PubKc Eecords, 
which seem to have been always in a state of migra- 
tion ; like the Lord Sandwich, who was compared to 
A man hung in chains who wanted to be hanged 
somewhere else. An upper floor of the Mews was 
next devoted to an exhibition of Manufactures and 
Machinery — ^the acorn from which sprang the great 
tree beneath whose shade all nations were to repose 
in a commercial millennium. The " neglected open 
space" has been growing into something like shape 
during these forty years, after the fashion in which 
England carries on her improvements, bit by bit, 
. and not a bit that can be deferred to a more con- 
venient season. 

During the first years of my residence in Pall 
Mall East, Saint James*s Park was getting rid of 
its old squalidness. The unenclosed ground about 
the Canal was railed in and made omamentaL 
Shrubberies were planted. The road after night- 
fall had ceased to be a place of danger and licen- 
tiousness. " There is gas in the Park." At the time 
v«f the Stuarts the Mall had been the lounging place 
lof the highest — the favourite ground of assignation 
of the Comedies in which Wit and Profligacy long 
maintained a flourishing co-partnership. Forty years 
ago the fashionable idlers had given place to happy 
children and smart nm-sery-maids. Mechanics out 
of work, and street vagabonds, always formed a 

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Ch. I.] 



crowd to see the relief of the Guard. Gapers from 
the country stood wonderingly upon the Parade, 
watching the working of the Telegraph at the top 
of the Admiralty. The old machine, which told 
its story by the opening and closing of shutters, was 
superseded by a greater wonder, the Semaphore, 
which threw out an arm, first on one side and then 
on another, and at varying heights. Very tedious 
was the transmission of the message, even by this 
improved instrument ; sometimes impossible from 
the state of the atmosphere. About 1824 I was 
summoned as a witness upon a trial in which Mr. 
Croker was also required to give his testimony. I 
walked with him for an hour or more up and down 
Westminster Hall. So full of anecdote was his talk, 
that I could scarcely agree with him when he said, 
"The French are right in calling the vestibule to 
their Palace of Justice la salle dea pas perdus" My 
steps with him were neither lost nor weaiisome. 
At last, looking at his watch, he exclaimed, " Go I 
must. There is a frigate waiting at Portsmouth 
for orders to sail, and it will be dark before I can 
set the Telegraph in motion if I stay longer." The 
Secretary of the Admiralty writes a few words now, 
regardless of dark or light, and the faithful wire con- 
veys his orders from port to port, and from sea to sea, 
far quicker than the flight of AiieL 

The neighbourhood in which I am seated is not as 
yet a very busy or a very lively one. It is gradually 
growing into a region dedicated to the Fine Arts. 
The Society of Painters in Water Colours have fixed 
their Gallery opposite ma The Society of British 
Artists have their Exhibition close at hand in Suffolk 
Street. My next-door neighbour is Mr. Golnaghi, 


the printseller. From him, and from his excellent 
son Dominick, I had some lessons in taste, as they 
would occasionally show me a few of their choice im- 
portations. Their connection was amongst the rich 
cognoscenti, and they cared little for the chance 
purchasers that aye attracted by the furniture prints 
of later times of diffused art. Messrs. Golnaghi and 
I then dwelt in a comer. Not many pedestrians 
passed our doors. But in a few minutes I could be 
amongst the crowd in the busy world of Charing 
Cross and the Haymarket. The great thoroughfare 
where "the Little Theatre" had stood for a century 
still retained its ancient market for hay, which had 
been a nuisance in the heart of the town for a much 
longer period. There I very often found myself 
staring into a window, if I could possibly get a nook 
amidst the multitude which daily crowded about the 
shop of " T. McLean, 26, Haymarket, where PoKtical 
and other Caricatures are daily publishing." Thus 
runs the imprint of one who was the chief patron 
of humourists for the age who were famous before 
" Punch." A daily Caricature ? Yes ; and a wilder- 
ness of Caricatures, issuing in endless succession out 
of shops round which crowds gathered from Picca- 
dilly to Cheapside. Let me refresh my recollections 
of some of these notable productions, by referring to 
a small collection rescued from heaps of rubbish. 

The latter six or seven years of "the first gentle- 
man in Europe" seem to have been the golden age of 
Caricaturists — some destined to historical fame like 
George Cruikshank and H. B. ; — ^many, even in their 
vulgarity, presenting curious traits of manners that 
might otherwise have had no record. There is, of 
course, a ludicrous aspect of all human affairs ; and 

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Ch. I.] 



thus Cruikshank's "Mornings at Bow Street" are 
wondrous exciters of mirth in 1824-5, although the 
people are stiU shuddering with horror at the story 
of Mr. John Thurtell's murder of Mr. William 
Weare ; many, nevertheless, having calmed their 
spirits by the enjoyment of a dramatic representa- 
tion of lie tragedy of Gill's Hill, with the real horse 
and gig that drew the victim to his slaughtering- 
place. But there is higher game to shoot flying 
than Old Bailey ruffians. Marvellous are the 
portraits of H. B. What R.A. has so faithfully 
depicted the Eldon and Lyndhurst and Brougham — 
the Wellington and Peel and Cumberland — of the 
later 'years of Greorge IV. as he has ? The picture of 
Mr. Brougham's hojck^ as he moves along the passage of 
the Common Pleas, is a triumph of art. The highest 
personage of the realm is leffc to the mercy of in- 
ferior hands. He is, " Mr. George KiDg, the Parish 
Overseer" — ^fat and cadaverous, with a padded and 
tightly-buttoned blue coat and silk stockings ; or he 
is "The. slap-up Swell, wat drives when hever he 
likes ; " or he is writhing in an easy-chair, his gouty 
leg on a cushion, with a bottle and a cheval-glass at 
his side. As for costume— what can be more trust- 
worthy than these gaudily-coloured extravagancies ? 
The bonnet stretching over the ma/achea d, gigot like 
a vast umbrella — ^the waist compressed into stays 
that sever the fair one's body into two portions 
wasp-like — ^the mountains of ribbon at top, and the 
acres of flounces below — ^these were the decorations 
that made the prettiest Englishwoman as hideous 
as a Hottentot Venus. The gentleman, on whose 
arm hangs the expansive lady, is reduced to the 
smallest possible dimensions by his own stays, over 



which the closely-fitting coat is buttoned with the 
utmost exertion of the valet's strength — nothing 
loose about him but the enormous shirt frill, which 
flutters on the breeze, despite the massive brooch. 
How these creatures move is not easy to compre- 
hend. When the surtout was slowly superseding the 
swallow-tailed coat, it was equally close-fitting over 
the compressed ribs ; but the exquisite sometimes 
condescended to veil his beautiful proportions in a 
vast cloak with a gorgeous fur cape, somewhat out 
of harmony with his tiny hat, but quite in keeping 
with his iron-heeled boot which clanked on the 
pavement like the obsolete patten. These were 
the days when whiskers came in — ^timid precursors 
of the ample beard. Cigar-smoking in the streets 
was then a novelty ; and the caricaturist shows us 
how the fashion was extending from the made-up 
dandy to the slovenly dustman. 

Amidst these palpable hits at passing follies, we 
have glimpses of what had begun to be called " The 
March of Intellect." The " Breakfast and Reading- 
Room " has on its door-post a list of works within, 
including " all the Classics ; " the bricklayer's labourer 
sits on his turned-down hod holding a book on which 
is labelled " St. Giles's Reading Society ; " a coach is 
announced by placard to go from London to York 
in four hours; and the coming reign of Equality 
is typified by the sweep carrying a pink umbrella. 
When the caricaturist exhibited the Duke of Wel- 
lington in a stage coachman's garb, as " The Man 
wot drives the Sovereign," there was a pendant to 
the picture, in a walking monster with the sturdy 
legs of the conventional John Bull, and the body of 
a Stanhope printing-press, surmounted with the cap 

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of Liberty : " This is the Man wot's got the whip 
hand of 'em all." The shadowy era of Steam is 
typified by all sorts of chimeras^ representing " Walk- 
ing by Steam, Riding by Steam, and Flying by Steam/' 
with a prophetic warning of some machine blown up, 
and limbs and trunks of hapless adventurers scattered 
in the air. Amidst the March of Intellect we have 
glimpses of the old reign of uncivilisation. " Crowd- 
ing to the Pit" exhibits "Theatrical Pleasures," — 
women trodden under foot; men fighting; and the 
pickpocket easing the struggling countryman of his 
watch. At every place where crowds assemble to be 
amused, ill-humour, incivility, pushing for the best 
seats, oaths, and fistycufis, ai*e the nile, in the com- 
mon want of the social refinement produced by edu- 
cation, and in the absence of all police control The 
burglar still prowls about London, and having robbed 
a jeweller's shop divides his spoil with the watchman. 
The interior of the parish watch-house still shows the 
constable of the night dozing over his pipe and his 
pot of porter. There are still street sights, such as 
were somewhat more numerous in the earlier part of 
the century, but which are far from obsolete, even 
though cocked hats and wigs are exploded. The 
ragged jade is crying "the last dying speech and 
confession of six unfortunate malefactors executed 
this morning," while the London-bred urchin is pick- 
ing the fat citizen's ample pocket. I hope we have 
no longer to doubt which is the better teacher, the 
schoolmaster or the hangman. 

It is forty years ago since the Londoners began 
seriously to think that their traffic was becoming too 
large for their streets. And yet, what had they to 
endure in 1824 compared with the obstructions of 

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1864 ? The ponderous brewer's dray often blocked 
up the Strand; but there were no mighty vans, 
threatening destruction to all the smaller craft that 
impeded their swift sailing. The broad-wheeled 
waggon generally crept in and out at nightfEill, as it 
had crept since the days of Fielding and Hogarth. 
The hackney-coach, never in a hurry, went on "me- 
lancholy, slow," patient under everyj stoppage. No 
meddling policeman yet presumed to regulate the 
movements of the driver with a dozen capes, who 
pulled up when he pleased, unheeding his silk- 
stockinged fare who was too late for dinner, and sat 
in the damp straw, shouting and cm-sing. The om- 
nibus appeared not in our streets till 1831, and when 
it came, the genteel remained faithful to the foul and 
stinking hackney-coach, mounting its exclusive iron 
steps with the true English satisfaction at hot being in 
mixed company. Altogether, the streets were pass- 
able, except when the pavement was up for the repair 
of gas and water pipes — ^which it was at aU seasons. 
There were schemes of sub-ways, but they met no 
encouragement Colonel Trench obtained an audi- 
ence at the Mansion House, to listen to his proposal 
of a terrace, eighty feet wide, from London Bridge to 
Westminster Bridge. Some thought the scheme a 
good one, but far too grand. Most sneered at such 
projects of Laputa. The sneerers and doubters kept 
their ground through a generation ; and now we are 
thinking in reality about such an obvious improve- 

In the semi-thoroughfare of Pall Mali East we had 
few passing sights. But on the 12th of July, 1824, 
I stand with my family on our balcony, looking out 
for a grand funeral procession that is to come from 

Ch. I.] 



Great George Street, Westminster, and to pass from 
Charing Cross up the Haymarket. On the 19th of 
April Lord Byron had died at Missolonghi The 
hearse which was moving up the Haymarket, to end 
its journey at Newstead Abbey, was followed by a 
few who loved him, and by many who reverenced his 
genius. Poets were there — Moore, Campbell, Rogers ; 
statesmen — Grey, Lansdowne, Holland ; Greek Depu- 
ties, who thought he was to have been the saviour of 
their country ; and English guardians of his fair fame, 
who had honoured his memory by burning his auto- 
biography. His sudden death — ^in the land where he 
was attempting to express by heroic deeds that sym- 
pathy with the " Cause of the Greeks " which other 
eminent men were content to associate with thjeir 
speeches and their writings — ^had moved all (except- 
ing a few who refused his body sepulture in oui* 
temple of the illustrious dead) to forget how he had 
latterly abused his great powers, and to remember 
only how ineffaceably he had inscribed his name 
amongst the immortals of literature. The pageant 
is over. Forty years have passed away, and Byron 
is now judged with the impartiality of posterity. He 
is not held to be the greatest poet that modem 
England has produced; he is not execrated as 
amongst the most inmioraL There was much to pity 
and forgive in his frailties. The mellowing influence 
of a few more years might have lifted his words and 
his deeds out of the slough in which he sometimes 
seemed unwilling to strive for a firmer footing. 

At the time of Lord Byron's funeral I was involved 
in a matter of public interest connected with the 
career of the deceased poet. I was enduring a dis- 
appointment, such as I had scarcely contemplated as 

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a possible incident of my publishing career, I will 
relate, as briefly as I can, the story of a Chancery 
Injuncticm to restrain me from publishing certain 
Letters of Lord Byron, which was served upon me 
five days before the funeral procession which I wit- 
nessed on the 12th of July. 

Bobert Charles Dallas was connected by marriage 
with the family of the poet. Captain George Anson 
Byron, the uncle of Lord Byi*on, married the sister of 
Ifr. Dallas. In 1824, through the intervention of 
my kind friend, the Rev. Charles Bichard Sumner, 
then residing at Windsor as Domestic Chaplain to 
George IV., I was offered the publication of a book to 
be entitled " Correspondence of Lord Byron." Upon 
receiving intelligence of the death at Missolonghi of 
the eminent man of whom he had some interesting 
memorials, Mr. Dallas came from Paris to England to 
arrange for the publication of some work in which 
should be exhibited his " Recollections of the Life of 
Lord Byron from 1808 to the end of 1814." I saw 
him at the house of his son Alexander, who, having 
been formerly in the army, had taken orders, and 
was in 1824 in the ministerial charge of the village 
of Woobum, near Beaconsfield. The elder Dallas 
was then in his seventieth year — ^a handsome old 
man, of refined manners, of varied and extensive in- 
formation ; manifesting an affectionate attachment to 
the memory of the poet, but with a strong religious 
feeling as to his moral aberrations since the period 
of their intimate acquaintance, which in some respects 
might have been called friendship. That intimacy 
ceased after 1814. Mr. Dallas had many times heard 
Lord Byron read portions of a book in which he in- 
serted his opinion of the persons with whom he mixed. 

Ch. I.] 



which book, he said, he intended for publication after 
his death. This, I conceive, was the Memoir upon 
which Mr. Murray advanced two thousand guineas 
to Thomas Moore ; and which [was torn and burned, 
under advice, in the presence of Moore, the advance 
being repaid to Mr. Murray. Such is Mr. Moore's 
account of this mysterious transaction.* From hear- 
ing some of Lord Byron's opinions of his contempo- 
raries, Mr. Dallas took the hint of writing a volume 
to be published after his own death and that of Lord 
Byron, which should present a faithful delineation of 
the poet's character as he had known him. The 
judicious advice of the elder author — ^for Dallas had 
been a not unsuccessful historian and noveUst — ^was 
useful to Byron in his tentative walk to fame ; and 
the obligation was amply repaid by the present of 
the cd^jnright of the first two cantos of "Childe 
Harold," which, strange to say, Byron was unwilling 
to publish till encouraged by the judgment of his 
experienced friend. Byron died at the age of thirty- 
seven ; Dallas could have scarcely contemplated to 
have been his survivor. The world was eager to 
learn all it could about the man who had filled so 
large a space in its thoughts for fourteen years; and 
Mr. Dallas, not from mere sordid motives, remodelled 
his Memoir into "Correspondence of Lord Byron." 
I purchased the manuscript for a large sum ; and in 
June it was advertised for publication. On the 30th 
of that month Mr. Hobhouse called on me with a 
friend who, as it subsequently appeared, was to be a 
witness to our conversation. I was not aware of the 
disadvantage under which the presence of a witness 

• See his letter, dated May 26, in " Axmnal Begbter " for 1824, 



was intended to place me, but immediately after the 
interview I made a fall note of what took place. 
Mr. Hobhouse came to protest, as one of the exe- 
cutors of Lord Byron, against the publication of 
this correspondence. I stated that I had read the 
manuscript carefuUy, and that the family and the 
executors need feel no aj^rehension as to its ten- 
dency, as the work was intended to elevate Lord 
Byron's moral and intellectual character. Mr. Hob- 
house observed, that if individuals were not spoken 
of with bitterness, and if opinions were not very freely 
expressed in these letters, they were not like Lord 
Byron's letters in general. The result was, that the 
yice-Chancellor granted an injunction upon the affi- 
davits o£ Mr. Hobhouse and Mr. Hanson, co-executors, 
that such contemplated publication was a breach of 
private confidence, and a violation of the rights* of pro- 
perty." There was an appeal. Our counter-affidavits 
affirmed that the letters were not of a confidential 
character. After two months of anxiety, Lord Eldon, 
the Chancellor, decided "that if A. writes a letter to 
B., B. has the property in that letter for the purpose 
of reading and keeping it, but no property in it to 
publish it." The unfortunate quarto volume, as 
printed to p. 168, is before ma In a few years, 
Mr. Moore, in his "Life of Byron," gave his testi- 
mony to the value of "a sort of Memoir of the 
noble Poet, published soon after his death, which, 
from being founded chiefly on original correspond- 
ence, is the most authentic and trustworthy of any 
that have yet appeared." That Memoir was pub- 
lished by me at the end of 1824, after the death of 
Mr. Dallas on the 21st of October. It was edited 
by his son, the Reverend Alexander Dallas, who. 



throughout the whole of this affair, acted in the 
most honourable and conscientious spirit. In the 
otDission of passages of the original manuscript, he 
evinced a truly Christian temper of moderation 
towards those who had endeavoured to damage his 
father's character, by the imputation of unworthy 
motives in seeking to publish this Correspondence. 
I was never brought so near to Lord Eldon as 
during the hours when this case was argued in his 
private room. I observed with admiration the 
patient spirit of inquiry ; the desire to uphold the 
authority of previous cases ; but with a strong incli- 
nation not to decide against the right of publication, 
when no satis&ctory reason could be shown but that 
of individual caprice or self-interest for suppressing 
the work, Mr. ELindersley, now a Vice-Chancellor, was 
our Counsel, and most ably clid he perform his duty. 
At times I thought that the " I doubt " of the great 
Chancellor would have terminated in our favour. 
He seemed, even in pronoundng judgment, to have 
some hesitation about affirming the principle upon 
which he idtimately decided as to the property in 
letters, as settled by the law. "Whether that was 
a decision that could very well have stood at first 
or not I will not undertake to say." But for most 
purposes of public utility his judgment was valuable. 
"It is a very different thing, as it appears to me, 
publishing as information what these letters contain, 
and publishing the letters themselves." Upon this 
principle we acted, in regard to the volume which 
was published at the end of 1824, as " RecoHectiond 
of Lord Byron." Mr. Moore reaped the full advan- 
tage of the suppressed Correspondence, by fiUing 
many pages, in 1829, with the letters of DaJlas atid 

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B}rron that the executors had thought fit to suppress 
in 1824. 

In the midst of these Chancery proceedings a Cap- 
tain Parry was announced. "A fine rough subject" — 
as Byron designated this "fire-master who was to 
bum a whole fleet," — came into my private room, 
with a leathern bag slung oVer his shoulder. He 
threw it on the table, exclaiming, " There you have 
the best book that any one can write about the 
Eight Honourable George Gordon, Lord Byron." He 
opened the wallet ; handed me some of the illiterate 
scrawl ; vaunted again and again his frieiidship with 
the Right Honourable George Gordon, Lord Byron — 
always naming him by his titles at full length ; and 
was very much astonished when I declined having 
anything to say to the affair. Captain Parry found 
some person to prepare his MS. for the press. An 
action of some sort arose out of the publication; and 
I was called as a witness to prove the nature of the 
contents of tiiat leathern bag, Parry having main- 
tained that he was the sole author of the book. The 
most remarkable part of this piece of literary manu- 
facture was a ribald description of Jeremy Bentham, 
running up Fleet Street pursued by a notorious 
woman called "The City Barge." Parry had indoc- 
trinated his scribe with his own hatred of the Utili- 
tarians of the Greek Committee in London, who 
sent out printing-presses and pedagogues in more 
plentiful supply than Congreve-rockets. Byron 
writes on the 8th February, "Parry says B . * . , . . 
[? Bentham] is a humbug, to which I say nothing. 
He sorely laments the printing and civilizing ex- 
penses, and wishes that there was not a Sunday 
school in the world." 

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Ch. I.] 



The business-house of a young publisher had, at the 
time of which I am writing, the sort of attraction for 
flights of authors as a saltcat has for pigeons. ' The 
whole commerce of Literature is, happily, so changed ; 
the buyers of books and the vendors of books have 
become so numerous ; the competition for the power 
of securing literary merit, when it first imps its wing, 
has so enlarged, — that the publishers have now to 
seek the authors — ^if they be worth seeking. I am 
not sure, even, that mediocrity is now the thing 
abhorred by gods, men, and booksellers. However 
this may be, I had, in 1824, heaps of unpublished 
manuscripts to look over; and, what was more 
troublesome, a good many indignant writers to bow 
out There were strange small fishes trying to swim 
in the wake of the Leviathans in that "yeasty main." 
Some brought their wares in bulk, and some oflFered 
their samples. I honestly think that I tried to be 
conscientious in my refusals to deal, for I had expe- 
rienced myself a little of the unknown author's diffi- 
culty of obtaining a publisher. Yet it was hard 
work. I had not learnt the art of refusing in terms, 
that should be meaningless and yet effective. One 
eminent publisher was the most skilful practitioner 
of that art with whom I was acquainted. I have 
heard some such dialogue as this : A. " I presume. 
Sir, you have at length been able to peruse my 
novel V* — C. " ffm ! chair . . . my reader . . . clever 
.... not quite adapted to public taste .... glut .... 
trade very dull . . . perhaps next season." — ^A. "Would 

a volume of poems ?" — C. " Poems ? oh ! .... 

drug . . . — ^A. " But so many come out ! " — C. "Yes. 

.... on commission .... Messrs. will publish 

for you .... print on your own account .... sell five- 




and-twenty .... not our line .... excuse .... 
gentleman waiting." I began at last to think that 
for a fashionable publisher there was a grand subject 
for imitation in Lord Burleigh's shake of the head. 
Sometimes a book would be offered me that appeared 
really worth a venture. A huge ungainly Scot walks 
in, dressed in a semi-military fashion, — a braided 
surtout and a huge fur cape to his cloak ; spluttering 
forth his unalloyed dialect, and somewhat redolent 
of the whiskey that he could find south of the Tweed. 
He at length interested me. He had come to Lon- 
don a literary adventurer. He had been his own 
educator, for he was once a working weaver. Many' 
were the schemes of books that he was ready to 
write — schemes that had been in the hands of most 
publishers, famous or obscure. He was known, I 
found, to one of the ablest of the staff of the " Times," 
— a gentleman to whom was committed the charge 
of the Foreign department of that Journal, which, 
even forty years ago, founded its success upon the 
marked talent and reliable knowledge of its writers. 
Out of the budget of Robert Mudie I selected a plan 
for a book on London — ^something in the manner of 
one which he had published, " The Modem Athens." 
It was to be called " Babylon the Great." The work 
was a success. I was acquainted with this singular 
man for some years. He would occasionally use his 
powers to good purpose ; but his writings were too 
often inaccurate. He approached nearer to the idea 
of a hack author of the old times than any man I 
ever saw. He would undertake any work, however 
unsuited to his acquirements or liis taste. Late in 
his career, he produced a book — ^forgotten now per- 
haps, and too much overlooked by scientific naturalists 

Ch. I.] 



in his own day — ^which exhibits remarkable powers 
of observation and description. Before he had been 
condemned to a life of incessant literary toil in 
London — only made more heavy by sottish indul- 
gence — ^he was a genuine naturalist, who had looked 
upon the plants, the insects, the birds, and other ani- 
mal life qf his own moors and mountains, with a 
rare perception of the curious and beautiful " The 
Feathered Tribes of the British Islands " is not an 
every-day work of science without imagination. 

I used sometimes to avail myself of the privilege 
of propinquity to have a gossip with the worthy old 
gentleman who first made the name of Colnaghi 
famous amongst collectors. He once gave me a piece 
of advice, which to some extent made me shy of pur- 
suing an interesting study of human character. He 
had seen William Henry Ireland entering my door, 
and sometimes making a long visit. I deUghted to 
talk with the author of the Shakspere forgeries, 
having no very harsh opinion of the man who, when 
a lad of eighteen, had hoaxed the big-wigs of his day, 
and had laughed in his sleeve when Dr. Parr reve- 
rently knelt and rendered thanks that he had lived 
to read a prayer by the divine poet, finer than any- 
thing in the Liturgy. How joyously would he now 
look back upon his imposture of 1795, preserved by 
his inordinate vanity firom any compunctious visitings 
that might lead him to think that a fraud was not 
altogether to be justified by its cleverness ! He was 
now nearly fifty years of age ; doing hard work of 
authorship wherever he could find employment ; 
wretchedly poor, and perhaps not altogether trust- 
worthy. " Take you care of that Mr. Ireland," says 
my kind neighbour the printseller. " He used to be 

c 2 



very fond of looking over my Rembrandt etchings 
and other portable rarities. But — I will say no 
more." I was not taken with any of poor Ireland's 
schemes. He had outlived his very questionable 
fame as the author of Shakspere's "Vortigem and 
Rowena." Thirty years had passed since he made 
his "Confessions." Unhappily I had at this time 
transactions with a forger of a very different class. 

At the period when I settled as a publisher in 
London, translations from the French were in far 
greater demand than at present, when an acquaint- 
ance with modem languages is much more general. 
I had published two very interesting versions of 
memoirs connected with the war in La Vendfe, 
which were profitable ; and I was deskous thus to 
extend my business operations in a way which in- 
volved less risk than the purchase of original worksw 
I procured two quarto volumes by M. Charles Dupin, 
who had collected his materials in this country 
with considerable industry, and had used them with 
rare impartiality. I quickly brought out " The Com- 
mercial Power of Great Britain," by the employ- 
ment of " several hands," as old title-pages express 
such a division of intellectual labour, without attach- 
ing to the term " hands " the offensive signification 
it is now thought to imply when used with regard 
to factory workers. Amongst the "hands" that I 
called in was a well-known writer, described as 
"a very clever, accomplished, and gentlemanly 
fellow, who won golden opinions of every body."* 
W. G. Graham was the most superlative coxcomb 
that ever took his daily lounge through Bond Street 

• Autobiography of William Jerdan, voL iii. p. 211. 


or the Park — ^his Hessian boots of the nicest fit — 
his lavender gloves of the most spotless hue — ^his 
tie perfect — his " conduct of a clouded cane " more 
than "nice." I scarcely dared to talk of common 
literary drudgery to the exquisite editor of "The 
Museum," but I was not repulsed with scorn. Yes, 
he would endeavour to find time to do what I 
wanted. Very rapidly did he accomplish his task. 
He got out of a hackney-coach in all imagin- 
able haste, placed a sealed packet in my hands, 
explained that he was suddenly called firom town, 
and — ^would I give him a check on account. The 
bulk of the parcel was an evidence of his industry 
—of his talent I had no doubt ; so he went off with 
his check, and veiy quickly cashed it. I am not 
sure that I ever saw him again. Indeed, I never 
desired to see him ; for when I opened the packet, 
guarded with seal after seal as a most precious trea- 
sure — ^lo ! the half-dozen quires of paper of which it 
was composed, though seeming to be as honest copy 
as'ever went to the printer, were as false as the coin 
with which the magician in the " Arabian Nights " 
deluded the stall-keepers of the oriental bazaars. 
The outer leaves of each section were the fairest of 
manuscripts ; the inner leaves were blank paper. 
Months passed away. I had found more trustworthy 
" hands." One day I received a letter, which is now 
before me : " If you can give me your check for as 
much of the enclosed as may not be due to you I 
should feel greatly obliged." I might have exclaimed 
" Not so bad as we seem," had I then been familiar 
with the phrase. The " enclosed " is also before me — 
a Bill drawn by W. G. Graham on Mr. G. B. Whit- 
taker, at two months for £60, dated September 16th. 

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[CK L 

1825, duly accepted by the eminent bookseller, and 
endorsed by the drawer. The " clever, accomplished, 
and gentlemanly fellow," had from me what he asked 
for. On the 19th of November the acceptance be- 
came due, and when presented had a terrible word 
written ^across the face in ominous red ink, " Forgery." 
That November was a time of dread for commercial 
men. The panic came in the next fortnight, in- 
volving several publishers in its ruin. The wretched 
man of whom I write had committed other forgeries 
upon the house of Mr. Whittaker, whose bankers, for 
their own safety, requiring a list of all his acceptances, 
were surprised to find some of a speculative character 
— such as large engagements for hops. His busi- 
ness, though otherwise intrinsically sound, was denied 
the usual amount of discount, and he was compelled 
to stop payment. The bold swindler had defrauded 
many connected with the publishing trade besides 
myself. One victim was resolved to shew no mercy 
if Graham could be apprehended. He was saved an 
ignominious end by escaping to New York, where his 
career of fraud was quickly closed. He was shot in 
a duel soon after he landed. 

When I was first planted in the West End as a 
Publisher of Miscellaneous Works, I adopted the 
honest, but somewhat impolitic, rule of never suffer- 
iDg myself to be denied. The natural consequence 
was, that half my day was spent in listening to very 
dull harangues upon neglected merit, from authors 
who were making the round of hard-hearted and 
mercenary dealers, who, with the hereditary effirontery 
of the trade, refused to embark their capital in print- 
ing books that they were satisfied would not sell. 
But there would often come a welcome relief in 

Ch. I.] 



clients of a better order. Of such I may mention 
Captain John Dundas Cochrane, whose " Pedestrian 
Journey through Russia and Siberian Tartary/' I 
published with great success. Most amusing was 
the conversation of this eccentric traveller, who did 
me the honour to introduce me to his wife, brought 
to England by him from the end of the Kamtchatkan 
peninsula — ^a beautiful little flaxen-haired creature, 
who shrank from my presence and hid behind a 
tabla He did not persuade me to adopt the custom 
whidi had been forced upon him in default of other 
food — ^that of eating fish raw, which he retained in 
the heart of civilised life as a luxury far greater than 
any nice cookery could produce. In a varied int^- 
course such as ihiat of an aspiring publisher, he must 
have very dull faculties to allow them to stagnate. 
Give him a prosperous career and few occupations 
can be happier, great as may be his risks and re- 
sponsibilities. Even the loungers who had no objects 
of business to propound kept up a pleasant excite- 
ment. The mere gossipers were not unprofitable 
visitors. I endured much desultory tattle in the 
conviction that a successful publisher must make up 
his mind to give many hours to what, in the crowded 
marts "where merchants most do congregate," would 
be deemed utter waste of tima Some of the plea- 
sant friends of those mornings in Fall Mall East now 
"come like shadows" before me. Let me caU up 
the memory of one to whom the words of Junius 
might be applied, "he is a genus — ^let him stand 
alona" Thomas Gent sits rollicking on the largest 
chair that he can find — ^a«s fat, not quite as witty, but 
with as suflScient an amount of "impudent sauci- 
ness," as Falsta£ I have witnessed the irresistible 



joke come slowly and demurely off the tongue of 
Hood, he perfectly grave and silent after the effusion, 
whilst his hearers are bursting again and again into 
peals of laughter. I have seen the retort, quick and 
blinding as lightning, flash from the lips of Jerrold, 
whilst he himself led the chorus of mirth at his own 
success, and the victim would laugh the longest and 
the loudest. But never saw I such effects of mere 
drollery, resting upon the slightest sub-soil of intel- 
lect, as my corpulent friend produced, whether he 
encountered an acquaintance as he slowly paced the 
Strand "larding the lean earth;" or gathered a 
crowd round him in the box-lobby to grin as they 
had just grinned at Liston ; or, falling asleep the 
instant he had dined, suddenly woke up and set the 
table in a roar, again closing his eyes and again 
waking up to the same success. And yet I can 
recollect none of this humourist's jests or his anec- 
dotes. Yes — one. He was a Yarmouth man,^ and 
there also was sojourning his reverend friend, Mr. 
Croly, and their genial associate, J. P. Davis. A 
hospitable alderman of that flourishing port had 
invited them to dinner ; the three were the earliest 
of the guests. As usual Gent fired off some absurdity 
which put an end to all conventional gravity, even 
in the stark clergyman, and the trio began " to giggle 
and make giggle." The solemn host, unused to such 
explosions, exclaimed in an agony, " Gentlemen, gen- 
tlemen — ^pray be quiet — ^the company am't come." 
Croly drew himself up to his fiill height, and address- 
ing the unfortunate man with that withering haughti- 
ness which was sometimes a mask for his good nature, 
said, " What, sir 1 are w^e hired ? — ^are we hired ? " I 
must not linger amongst the loungers of my back 

Ch. I.] 



room, yet I cannot forget one of the pleasantest and 
most improving, Dr. Maginn. To him the gossip of 
the modem world was as famiUar as the learning of 
the ancient. From some organic defect of utterance 
his speech was occasionally hesitating ; yet when his 
words came forth they were full of meaning — ^always 
pleasant, ofken wise. It cannot, however, be denied 
he was best of a morning, — the double excitement 
of the table and the talk was sometimes too much 
for him. 

At the end of 1824 I was busy, as all publishers 
were when the Courts of Law had opened, and 
fashionable people were returning to London. That 
Christmas was the first that I had passed away from 
Windsor. It was a quiet season for my family, not 
unaccompanied with sad remembrances. My recent 
loss prevented me entering into the London round 
of amusements. I took not my children to Covent 
Garden to marvel at the transformations of the 
pantomime — ^to laugh with them at the clown, per- 
haps with as exuberant a mirth as that of younger 
days at the wondrous face-power of Grimaldi. But 
the out-door aspects of London enjoyment at Christ- 
mas were not unobserved by me. Honestly to speak, 
it was a dismal spectacle. In every broad thorough- 
fare, and in every close alley, there was drunkenness 
abroad ; not shamefaced drunkenness, creeping in 
maudlin helplessness to its home by the side of the 
scolding wife, but rampant, insolent, outrageous 
drunkenness. No decent woman, even in broad 
daylight, could at the holiday seasons dare to walk 
alone in the Strand or Pall Mall, much less in the 
regions into which flowed all the filth of the adjacent 
Seven Dials. More pitiable than the blackguardism 


that swarmed in the streets was the listless idleness 
that loitered before shop-windows, or crowded round 
the barrel-organ and the monkey, or rendered the 
cul'de-mc impervious to its occupiers, for there the 
acrobat had spread his carpet. Throngs of mechanics 
who had risen on "boxing-day" dedicating them- 
selves to unlimited pleasure, were weary of the sweet 
do-nothing before the dinner hour, and the weariness 
had its natural termination in the tap-room. No 
blithe-looking father in his Sunday coat, and happy 
mother in her smartest bonnet, each with a child 
asking eager questions amidst unwonted sights, 
could then be observed entering the old-fashioned 
gateway of the British Museum, — the sturdy Briton 
proudly feeling that the place was his own, and that 
he had a right of entrance. During the holiday 
weeks of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, the 
doors of the British Museum were rigidly closed 
against the intrusive public. There was then no 
National Gallery, no Museum at South Kensington ; 
and if there had been, no admission would have been 
found, at the time before legislators di'eamed that 
some few of the working population might, perchance, 
be tempted from low gratifications into the higher 
enjoyments of taste, for which, as we have now leamt, 
the English are not by nature disqualified. For 
those who would not have begrudged a few shillings 
for some public amusement of a rational nature, 
there were no Zoological Gardens. It is true that 
Exeter Change still exhibited its great elephant, and 
that the lions in the Tower might be seen for a 
shilling. So might other wonders in the Tower, — 
but always a shilling for every department of won- 
ders. The doors of St. Paul's and of Westminster 

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Ch. L] 



Abbey were never open without a fee, except during 
the hours of divine service. A working man with 
his wife and boy could have kept his household for 
a week, at the cost of experimenting in the Whisper- 
ing Gallery, and ascending the dark stairs of the 
dome ; or gazing upon the Coronation chair, and the 
waxen eflSgy of Queen Elizabeth's maid of honour 
who died from pricking her finger. There were no 
cheap trains to Kew Gardens or Hampton Court, which 
places were comparatively unknown to the bulk of 
the population ; in a word, there was nothing what- 
ever of public enjoyment of an improving nature to 
be found in our hard-working hive, when the workers 
had their rare holiday. So, almost as a matter of 
necessity, boxing-day could be scarcely got through 
without the gin-shop in its primitive dirt, for the 
gin-palace was not as yet. When night came, the 
pit and gallery of the few theatres were crowded, 
after such a fight at their entrances as the caricaturist 
depicted Musical performances for the multitude 
there were none ; for the popular taste for any higher 
music than a jig had not yet been developed, and 
there was no Exeter Hall. The choruses in the 
streets of jolly good fellows made night hideous ; and 
when the din was overpast, the waits, horribly out of 
harmony, were almost as bitter enemies to sleep as 
the rattle of the watchman and the screech of the 
virago that he was dragging to durance vile. Such 
was the London Christmas forty years ago. 

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E have no sufficiently clear record of the 
commerce of books in the days of Pope 
and Addison, to be enabled to say that 
there was a marked Publishing Season. 
The fact that there was a Long Vacation may lead 
us to conclude that when " Chambers in the King's 
Bench Walk'' were deserted, Mr. Tonson was 
entertaining the Kit-Cat Club in his Thames-side 
Villa, and that Mr. Lintot had left the custody of 
his " rubric posts " to his shop boys. Whatever may 
have been the custom in the reign of the first George, 
imdoubtedly the publisher of any note asserted his 
right to a Season in the reign of George IV. 
For the three months of autumn, the Circulating 
Libraries were indifferently supplied with Travel 
and Romance ; but great were the preparations for 
the coming campaign. Manuscripts were in critical 
hands, proofs were circulating by post, negotiations 
were on foot, advertisements were being prepared, 
mysterious hints about " the Journal of a noble lady, 
that had been read to a select circle of fashionables," 
appeared in the papers. Like the mighty ones of 
my craft, I was glad that the Season had come to an 
end, in the July of 1825. With me it was closed by 
the publication of a work of unusual importance. 
Milton's Latin Treatise on Christian Doctrine, having 
been discovered in the State Paper Office, was placed 

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Ch. II.] 



in the hands of the Librarian and Historiographer to 
George IV., for the laudable purpose of giving to 
the world an unpublished work of one of the greatest 
of English poets. That office was held in 1824 by 
the Rev. Charles Richard Sumner. The original, 
and a translation, were printed at the Cambridge 
University Press, and I was selected as their Pub- 
lisher.* At tlie time of its publication the editor 
and translator was D.D., and a prebendary of Canter- 
bury. In 1827 he succeeded Dr. Tomline, as bishop 
of Winchester. I cannot advert to the confidence 
which Dr. Sumner placed in me, and bear in mind 
the whole nature of my intercourse with him, without 
a feeling of affectionate gratitude to a most zealous 
and constant friend, whose kindness was never alloyed 
by any of the condescension of patronage — ^who, when 
he had arrived at almost the highest ecclesiastical 
dignity, preserved the same frank and amiable de- 
meanour that he had exhibited when I first knew 
him at Windsor — ^who, a year or two later, won 
my heaii; by his public spirit, as well as by his 
personal kindness, — ^for it was he, in his diocese of 
Uandaff, who, in a letter of interrogatories sent 
round to his Clergy, asked a question which became 
famous — "Are there infant schools in your parish — 
and, if not, why not ? " It is in me an act of simple 
justice here to record a circumstance which has been 
misunderstood in connection with the translation of 
Milton's posthumous work. 

In 1824 I went with Mr. Sumner to Cambridge, 
to aiTange for the printing of the original Latin MS. 
at the University Press. Marvellous to relate, there 

* A reprint of the translation has been published by Mr. Bohn. 

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was no functionary of that printing office who was 
competent to see that the coiTections upon the proofs 
as they passed out of the hands of the editor were 
properly attended to. I had the pleasure of intro- 
ducing Mr. Sidney Walker to Mr. Sumner, and it 
was agreed that he should undertake this duty. The 
printing of the Latin edition, and of the English 
translation, was completed in the course of a twelve- 
month. The Preface by the translator contains the 
following paragraph: "He cannot conclude these 
preliminary remarks without acknowledging his 
obligations to W. S. Walker, Esq., Fellow of Trinity 
College, Cambridge, who has not only discharged the 
greater part of the laborious office of correcting the 
press, but whose vuluable suggestions during the 
progress of the work have contributed to remove 
some of its imperfections." The Kev. J. Moultrie, 
in his Memoir of Mr. Walker, prefixed to his 
"Poetical Remains," says of this incident in his 
friend's literary career, " The work being printed at 
the University Press, Walker was selected as resident 
on the spot, and eminently qualified for the office, to 
revise and correct the proof sheets. In the perform- 
ance of this task he considerably overstepped the 
limits of his commission, reviewing not only the 
printer's but the translator's labour, and leaving 
upon the work the indelible impress of his own 
masterly scholarship and profound appreciation of 
the author s genius." Compared with this statement 
the acknowledgment by Dr. Sumner of his obliga- 
tions to ]M[r. Walker may appear not only cold, but 
insufficient. It is my duty to state that not only 
had the accomplished Fellow of Trinity "consider- 
ably overstepped the limits of his commission," but 

Ch. II.] 



had concealed the fact of having done so till the 
printing of the work was completed. He was 
fastidious to excess in his critical scholarship. His 
clandestine mode of proceeding was to be attributed to 
his utter want of decision of character. To me he at 
length made the tardy communication of his error. " I 
ought properly to address Mr. Sumner, but I cannot 
muster confidence to make the communication to him. 
The truth is, that I have been guilty of great and 
unwarrantable liberties with regard to the trans- 
lation of Milton. I understood it to be his wish that 
I should make no alterations, except such as were 
approved of by him ; and with this wish I conformed 
for a short time, except some minute encroachments 
aft&r the sheet was returned from Windsor; but as 
I went on, so many instances occurred to me in which, 
so I thought, the translation might be bettered, that 
at last I dropped all remorse and altered without 
compunction. The truth was, that although the 
translation would in any case have been quite as 
good as is generally thought proper to bestow on 
modem works, wiitten in foreign languages — so that 
the pubUc would not have complained, — I could not 
be satisfied, unless it were something better." Many, 
he says, may think he had too rigid ideas of the 
duties of a translator. His justification was to be 
found, he maintains, in the desire he felt " that the 
work might be, not good in a certain stated degree, 
but as good as it could be made." 

The days before " MmTay " — ^the days when the 
tourist went groping his way through foreign towns 
without the friendly aid of the famous " Hand Books 
for Travellers" — seem to belong to an era when 
the majority of Britons were, in some sense, almost 

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separated from the whole world." Yet, in 1825, 
these excellent books would have been Ijefore their 
time. Travelling had not then become a fashion. 
The modes of conveyance were tedious, uncertain, 
and expensive. An opportunity was presented to 
me in the August of that year of seeing Paris under 
agreeable circumstances; and I persuaded myself 
that through a personal intercourse with French pub- 
lishers I could unite business with pleasure. I joined 
a family, of which the mother had been the friend 
of my childhood — ^whose elder daughter was gi'owing 
into the elegant and accomplished woman — ^whose 
two sons were Etonians, full of spirit and curiosity. 
We travelled through Picardy with a calfeche and 
pair of horses that we had hired at Calais ; accom- 
plishing about forty miles each day, with ample 
opportunities of seeing the country and observing 
the manners of the people. The Diligence often 
passed us or met us. We could never want a hearty 
laugh whilst the postilion diverted us with his jack- 
boots and his pigtail We drew up beneath the 
hedge-row apple-trees as he cracked his leathern 
whip with the noise of a little blunderbuss. We 
rather pitied the poor creatures, who, in the hottest 
of weather, were shut up in the interior of that 
machine. We did not even envy the uninterrupted 
prospect of the few who sat aloft with the conducteur 
in the cabriolet So we leisurely journeyed, pleased 
with all we saw ; enjoying the quails and partridges, 
which we often found at dinner or supper, although 
the glory of bread-sauce was reserved forjour own 
country, according to the belief of Lord Devon; 
mightily relishing the wine which we always thought 
surprisingly cheap ; and well inclined to believe that 

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there were no bad inns upon the road which the 
English were wont to use in the days of leisurely 
travelling. They are gone, — ^for the tourist from 
Boulogne to Paris of 1864 — ^the Diligence, the Malle 
poste, the colossal boots, and the queuea He cannot 
enjoy, as we enjoyed, the quiet dinner at Montreuil ; 
the nice supper at Abbeville ; the market day at 
Beauvais, amidst smiling vendors of eggs and poultry 
in their wondrous caps and sabots, who did not seem 
as if they ever toiled in the harvest time as we had 
seen some of their hard-worked country-women. We 
now rush from London to Paris in twelve hours, and 
fancy we have seen France. 

The Paris of Charles X. was as suggestive of 
political and social contrasts to the Paris of the first 
Napoleon, as its physical aspects gave no promise of 
the wonders that might be effected under a sagacious 
despotism during the lapse of another generation. 
There was a constitutional Government ; a vigorous 
opposition ; an imlicensed Press. There were earnest 
speakers in the Chamber of Deputies ; bitter satirists 
in prose and verse ; Beranger was on all lips^ and 
Courier might be read in castrated editions; the 
officers of the Crown instituted proceedings against 
journalists, but the tribunals refused to condemn 
them. There was then an open struggle between 
the narrowest bigotry and the broadest licence in 
matters of religion. The priestly and ultra-royalist 
parties, with the Court at their head, were despised. 
They were " lea vajmimeTvt petite" whose fetll would 
be a Revolution. I saw the King and the . Boyal 
family walk from the Tuileries in procession to 
Notre Dame, on the Feast of the Ascension of the 
Virgin, amidst a population intent upon a holiday 


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and in tolerable good humour. But there was no 
enthusiasm, and there were significant shrugs of 
the shoulders. While the King was marching 
through the streets at the head of an army of 
priests, the people were discussing the atrocity of the 
law of sacrilege which was being debated in the 
Chamber of Deputies, under which law the profana- 
tion of the sacred utensils was to be punished with 
death. Nevertheless, all was gaiety in this beauteous 
summer time. There were then noble trees on the 
Boulevards, beneath whose shade we sipped our ices, 
or lingered till the deep blue sky was gemmed with 
stars. The gardens of the Tuileries and the Champs 
Elys^s were filled with crowds of idlers. Versailles, 
with its Orandea Eaux, was to us a place of wonder 
and delight The Palace of the Grand Monarque, 
before Louis Philippe had dedicated its saloons to 
the glories of the Consulate and the Empire, 
presented historicsd memorials more interesting than 
picture after jMcture of battle fields, most of them bad 
and all wearisome. The streets of Paris were fertile 
in remembrances of a past generation of comparative 
uncivilisation. The stinking gutter stagnated in the 
middle of the causeway, which had no trottoira. The 
rope stretched from side to side, with the lamp in 
the centre, made us understand the meaning of Ala 
Icmteme. I was awakened every morning at five 
o'clock by the cleaving of wood in the Rue Richelieu, 
for the winter supply of the H6tel des Princes, in 
which I had the misfortune to be lodged in a front 
bed-roonu' In spite of some discomforts— even in a 
first-rate hotel — which have now vanished, we were 
well pleased with oar fortnight of sight-seeing ; were 
not discomposed by assisting at the representation of 

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Ch. IL] 



three farces at the The&tre des Vari^t^, in which 
the chief humour was a burlesque of English 
manners. At the The&tre Fran^ais I saw Talma 
in Sylla, and lost my belief that French dramatic 
poetry was essentially a conventional and tame 
aflFair. The great tragedian united, as I then felt, 
the majestic impressiveness of Kemble with the 
passionate energy of Kean. I am afraid that I was 
too much pleased and excited in Paris to attend very 
profitably to business. I found the publishers with 
whom I had negotiations very obliging and unpre- 
tentious ; living plainly in their houses of business ; 
and not affecting to be anything grander than 
dealers in books, who had a shrewd eye to a bargain. 
We ti-avelled homeward through Normandy, where 
the green fields and the pretty churches reminded us 
of iiiglish scenes. We rested for a night at Neuf* 
ch&tel, where we tasted the delicious Uttle cheeses 
fresh in the place of their production— a luxury 
made just then somewhat famous by the mistake of 
a worthy alderman of London, who, having first seen 
the delicacy at a great man's table, said he would 
order a hundred of his correspondent, and was 
astonished by the delivery at his door of a ton or 
two of the hard cheeses of Switzeriand, almost as big 
as a cart wheel. May I dare to say, that some of the 
leisure of the ladies of our party was employed in 
sewing sundry yards of French silk within the 
lining of my cloak. Smuggling was then deemed a 
venial offence. Huskisson's great measure removing 
the prohibition upon the importation of foreign silks 
was not to take effect till 1826. 

When I returned in September, my family were 
at' Windsor. I had the opportunity, in company 

D 2 

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with Dr. Sumner, of seeing the progress of the great 
improvements of the Castle, and of listening to the 
clear explanations of his plans, which Mr. Wyatville 
gave with the straightforward simplicity characteristic 
of his practical genius. In the previous summer, 
soon after the commencement of the works, I had 
gone into the old building with Mr. Britton. We 
had found the architect sitting alone surrounded 
with demolished walls at the north-east angle of the 
Terrace front, deeply engaged in the study of a 
ground plan. His idea of the beautiful octagon 
tower, called Brunswick, was then shaping itself 
into that harmonious combination of somewhat in- 
congruous parts which he so happily effected in 
many portions of the fortress-palace of Edward III, 
by the careful preservation of old features and the 
happy adaptation of new. I could not long linger at 
Windsor in the enjoyment of a beautiful autumn, 
but had to be much in London, as the publishing 
,season was approaching. Every day was then giving 
2)irth to some new project for the employment of 
.^capital, although during the Session of Parliament, 
which closed on the 6th of July, two hundred and 
^eighty-six private bills had been passed for schemes 
.of local improvement, chiefly to be effected by the 
vAgency of Joint Stock Companies. You could 
^scarcely meet a man in the city who had not some- 
thing to say about the rise or the fall in shares — 
shares in Canals, in Rail-roads, in Packets, in Gas- 
works, in Mines, in Banks, in Insurance Offices, in 
Fisheries, in Sugar and Indigo cultivation, in Ksh 
Manufactures, in Newspapers. At the beginning of 
the Session the King had "the happiness of con- 
gratulating'' his Parliament on "general and in- 

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creasing prosperity ; " at the end of the Session the 
same prosperity "continues to pervade every part 
of the kingdom." These sanguine views gained for 
the Chancellor of the Exchequer the title of " Pros- 
perity Robinson." Turning aside from thoughts of 
French translations and other productions of ephe- 
meral Literature, I had devised a large and compre- 
hensive scheme of a " National Library " — ^a cheap 
series of books which should condense the informa- 
tion contained in voluminous and expensive works. 
I prepared a Prospectus, in which I truly said, " It 
is to be remarked that, with some few striking 
exceptions, the general Literature of our country is 
either addressed to men of leisure and research, and 
is, therefore, bulky and diffuse ; or it is frittered 
down into meagre and spiritless outlines, adapted 
only for juvenile capacities." I settled the subjects 
of about a hundred volumes, in History, Science and 
Art, and Miscellaneous Literature. I submitted this 
Prospectus to Mr. Colbum, who expressed his desire 
to join me in the undertaking, in conjunction with 
some wholesale house. It was settled that Mr. 
Whittaker should be applied to, and accordingly the 
general terms of an agreement were soon arranged 
between us. 

During November I applied myself assiduously to 
the preparation of a complete scheme to go before 
the public. I obtained the opinion of judicious 
advisers. I made overtures to writers. I received 
a letter from my old friend the Rev. J. M. Turner, 
in which he says, "I hear from Mr. Locker that 
you are about to undertake an extensive scheme 
of publication something like that which Constable 
is advertising so assiduously. I shall be very glad 

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to enlist as a contributor to your stores. Constable's 
programme seems very imposing, but like all com- 
prehensive sketches it is both deficient and redun- 
dant." My own plan was no doubt open to the same 
objection. It was more systematic than Constable's, 
and, therefore, perhaps less attractive. I was in 
high spirits at the prospect of congenial occupation 
in the editorship of this series, and in a probable 
source of profit with a limited responsibility. Mr. 
Whittaker was as sanguine as myself. We had 
contracted an intimacy as members of a Club 
of a peculiar character, of which there was no 
previous example, and which, as far as I know, has 
had no imitators. " The Publishers' Club " included 
under that comprehensive name Authors as well as 
Publishers proper, Mr. Jerdan, in his "Auto- 
biography," describes this Club as "The Literary 
Club," but I never knew it under any other name 
than " The Publishei-s'." Our monthly dinner was at 
the Albion, in Aldersgate Street. It was an ex- 
ceedingly pleasant association, even when the pro- 
ceedings were not enlivened by invited guests, such 
as the great comedians Munden and Mathews. I 
remember an evening of rare enjoyment, when I sat 
by Munden — a man of the most exquisite humour — 
a great actor when asked for an exercise of his art, 
but returning naturally to take an intelligent share 
in general conversation. On ordinary occasions, Mr. 
Oroly harangued in a style which some deemed 
eloquence ; Mr. Jerdan made puns which some re- 
garded as wit ; and Dr. Kitchener pronounced dog- 
matic opinions upon cookery and wine. Hood, a 
few years before, had spread his fame far and wide 
in his " Ode to Dr. Kitchener ;" but I was not quite 

Ch. II.] 



aware of our Vice-Chairman's greatness in the world 
of gastronomy till I saw the rich landlord of the 
Albion address himself to the sage physician, whose 
maxim to ward oflf dyspepsia was *' masticate, denti- 
cate, chump, and chew." As h6 sat, eagerly looking 
for the remove, with his pocket-case of sauces by 

his side, Mr. humbly requested that he would 

deign to taste of a certain dish which the genius 
of his chef had recently produced. The fiat of 
approval was given. Henceforth the luxury would 
be classical. 

' The first meeting of our Club season of 1825 was 
joyous. The second meeting was dismal. The com- 
mercial world was in alarm. How well I remember 
the anxious face of Mr. James Duncan, one of the 
most prudent and sagacious of publishers ! Even 
such a man 

Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night, 

And wonld have told him, half his Troy was burnt.*' 

Duncan would have told us, had he dared, that half 
the Row was shaky. Few of our Club after this 
meeting were in the humour for a monthly festivity. 
The Panic had come, passing over all our tribe like 
the Simoom, bringing with it general feebleness, if 
not individual death. Scott, in the blind confidence 
which he felt, even whilst he and Constable were 
signing " sheafs of bills," writes in his Journal of 
November 25th, "After all, it is hard that the 
vagabond stock-jobbing Jews, should, for their own 
purposes, make such a state of credit as now exists 
in London." If the " pleasant vices " of speculative 
men had not found work for the stock-jobbing Jews, 
there would have been no panic to become one of 



the "instruments to scourge us" — ^the humblest 
subjects, and the highest potentates, of ''the realms 
of print" The house of Whittaker succumbed very- 
early, and its affairs were righteously administered 
by Trustees, who in a few years restored it to its 
old position. Hurst and Bobinson fell, never to rise 
again, and pulled down Constable and Ballantyne 
with them. Then began the heroic period of Walter 
Scott's life, when we might almost envy him his 
misfortunes and mistakes, in the contemplation of 
the grandeur of his efforts to retrieve them. 

On the 6th of December I had been at Windsor. 
Returning to London by the afternoon coach, I 
learnt that the banking-house of Williams & Co. 
had stopped payment. They were the bankers who 
transacted the business of Messrs. Ramsbottom and 
Legh, the partners in our sole Windsor bank, and 
large brewers. I was upon intimate terms with 
both these gentlemen, and I dreaded the conse- 
quence to them of this unexpected calamity. Late 
at night they both arrived at my house in Pall Mall 
East. We spent several hours in anxious consulta- 
tion ; but it was at length agreed that Mr. Legh 
should immediately return to Windsor, to counter- 
mand an order that had been given for the closing 
of their bank on the morning of the 7th. It had 
seemed impossible upon the first receipt of the dis- 
astrous intelligence to prevent a fatal run upon 
them ; for their resources, beyond the regulated 
supply of specie and banknotes to pay their own 
well-worn pieces of paper — ^the ordinary currency of 
the town and neighbourhood — ^were now locked up 
in the unfortunate London house. Mr. Ramsbottom 
was one of the members for the borough, very 


popular, and of unimpeached credit. He and I set 
out on an excursion, west and east, to seek the 
assistance of bankers and other capitalists, his 
friends. In the Albany we found the partners of 
one firm, that of Messrs. Everett, deliberating by 
lamp-light. A few words showed how unavailing 
was the hope of help from them : " We shall our- 
selves stop at nine o'clock." The dark December 
morning gradually grew lighter ; the gas-lamps died 
out ; but long before it was perfect day we found 
Lombard Street blocked up by eager crowds, each 
man struggling to be foremost at the bank where he 
kept his account if its doors should be opened. We 
entered several of the banks where the counters 
were surrounded by the presenters of cheques ; and 
were witnesses to the calm which sustains the honest 
English trader in the hour of difficulty, even as it 
has sustained many a naval commander when the 
ship has struck upon a sunken rock, and his own 
safety is the last consideration. There was a 
London office of Messrs. Bamsbottom's brewery ; and 
here we found a considerable sum that, through the 
prudence of the principal clerk, had not been paid 
in on the 6th to their banking agents in Birchin 
Lane. We decided upon a plan of action, the artifice 
of which was justified by the necessity of the case. 
I took my seat in a postchaise with my treasure — 
something less than a thousand pounds — and was 
whirled to Windsor in a couple of hours by four 
horses. As I changed horses at Hounslow, or stopped 
at turnpikes, I proclaimed, " funds for the Windsqr 
Bank." The news spread down the road in that 
extraordinary way in which news, good or bad, is 
promulgated. I drove triumphantly into the yard 

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of the Bank, amidst the hurrahs of a multitude out- 
side, to whom I had proclaimed my mission. There 
was a meeting at the same time taking place at the 
Town Hall, at which my townsmen entered into 
resolutions declaring their opinion of the solvency of 
the firm, and the necessity of not pressing upon 
them in the hour of difficulty. The bank was saved. 
Its failure would have spread general dismay and 
misery; especially as several of the tradesmen largely 
employed in the alterations of the Castle depended 
upon advances for wages upon their credit accounts 
with Messrs. Bamsbottom. I went the next day to 
Dr. Sumner, and represented to him that a prompt 
payment of arrears from the Board of Works would 
be an immense relief. With a ready kindness he 
applied to the highest quarter. The King's inter- 
vention, — ^then, perhaps, more potent in overcoming 
obstacles of routine than in the present day — quickly 
accomplished this object. Williams & Co. resumed 
payments in a few weeks. 

Lockhart, in his life of Scott, relates that in' 
January, 1826, Constable, awakening from his dream 
of safety from impending ruin, had come to London 
with the resolution of applying to the Bank of 
England, "for a loan of from 100,000Z. to 200,000?. 
on the security of the copyrights in his possession." 
Copyrights, in that perilous season, were a most 
unmarketable commodity; and the Governor and 
Company of the Bank of England, or indeed any 
other bankers, would have regarded such securities, 
and even the most valuable stock of a publisher, 
as so much waste paper. My own credit was un- 
assailed amidst suspicions on every side. I had no 
engagements that had arisen out of the system of 

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cai. iL] 



accommodatioQ bills, — ^those treacherous allies who 
pull down the strongest in the hour of mortal 
conflict. Such desperate help in tiding over diflS- 
culties was fully developed in all its evils by that 
unsparing Pania I hadr trade engagements that 
would have been duly met, if a paralysis of commerce 
had not been eventually as dangerous as its apoplexy ; 
chronic decay as fatal as sudden extinction. The 
publications of 1825 would no longer sell in 1826 ; 
the new works projected, written, half printed, 
advertised, must wait for a more propitious time. 
The " tender leaves" would not endure that "killing 
frost." This was the reasoning of most of us-— of 
nearly ally with the exception of Mr. Colbum, who 
pushed his new works with great vigour, having the 
miarket of light literature almost wholly to him- 
seK He was perhaps more right than his fellows, 
in following a course which the most wonderful 
Common-sense, lifted into the noblest poetry by the 
power of Imagination, has prescribed as well for 
publishers as for statesmen : — 

** To have done, is to hang 
Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail 
In monumental mockery.** 

TroUm and Oressida, 

For myself, I saw and heard so much of commercial 
misery, of fear that kills, of unmerited suspicion 
troubling the sleep of the most prudent, that the 
spring was passing into summer, and I began to look 
upon 1826 as a lost year of business. I could not 
resolve to "take the instant way" — ^to "keep the 
path." I had achieved something like ar position in 
1825. I could scarcely hope to regain it by follow- 
ing the usual course of publishing books that might 

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live their little hour of novelty and then pass to the 
trunkmakers. Every day made me sick of my occu- 
pation. *'The Brazen Head," of which I have 
spoken, dropped upon the town like a leaden lump. 
Credit was whispered away. Harsh judgments were 
pronounced upon the unlucky. In this dark season 
I sometimes heard the raven-croak of a man who 
peeped into every comer, and was ^lightly exhibited 
in his peeping attitude to laughing play-goers. The 
Paul Pry of Listen was a chubby, rosy-faced, good- 
natured, but essentially mischievous meddler, known 
as Tom HilL He would lay hold of your button in 
the streets, and detain you by some such talk as 
this: — "Do you know if W — has given up his 
hunter ? I asked one of his porters, and he wouldn't 

tell me Isn't it suspicious to see and Co. 

sending a waggon load of stock from their ware- 
house ? .... Do give a hint to your friend in 

Street, that his servants are very extravagant. I 
looked down his area and saw them having hot rolls 
for breakfast" I got away from this moral fog of 
London as soon as I could. I was shut up, moody 
and irresolute, at Windsor, in the summer, project- 
ting, planning, re-arranging my " National Library " 
scheme, which had been stifled by the panic before 
its birth; adding a book here and there, or Cur- 
tailing the list, already too long. I was about to 
return to London with no more preparation for 
a coming campaign than half a dozen various pro- 
spectuses of this work. It had become a fixed idea 
with me, to the exclusion of all minor purposes of 
business or literary occupation. 

In the autumn of 1826 Mr. Brougham was or- 
ganizing his "Society for the Diffusion of Useful 

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Ch. II.] 



Knowledge." The Long Vacation was at an end, 
and in that November, the prospectus of the new 
society was privately circulated. It said, — "The 
object of the Society is strictly limited to what its 
titie imports, namely, the imparting useful informa- 
tion to all classes of the community, particularly to 
such as are unable to avail themselves of ex- 
perienced teachers, or may prefer learning by them- 
selves." Here, then, appeared an opening for the 
nurture of my cherished scheme, of which I ought 
to avail myself. At Windsor, in November, I 
received a letter from Mr. M. D. Hill, wishing me 
to come to town immediately, as he had mentioned 
my plan of popular books to Mr. Brougham, and to 
a committee for the encouragement of such a project, 
and that he thought great things might be done. 
Of course this communication brought me instantly 
to London; and I was very quickly introduced 
by Mr. Hill to Mr. Brougham. That interview is 
indelibly impressed upon my memory with all its 
attendant circumstances. I had never come across 
the renowned orator in private life, or had seen him 
under an every-day character. There was an image 
in my mind of the Queen's Attorney-General, as I had 
often beheld him in the House of Lords, wielding a 
power in the proceedings on the Bill of Pains and 
Penalties which no other man seemed to possess-*- 
equivocating witnesses crouching beneath his wither- 
ing scorn; mighty peers shrinking from his bold 
sarcasm; the whole assembly visibly agitated at 
times by the splendour of his eloquence. The 
Henry Brougham I had gazed upon was, in my 
mind's eye, a man stem and repellent; not to be 
approached with any attempt at familiarity ; whose 

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opinions must be received with the most respectful 
deference ; whose mental superiority would be some- 
what overwhelming. The Henry Brougham into 
whose chambers in Lincoln's Inn I was ushered on 
a November night was sitting amidst his briefs, 
evidently delighted to be interrupted for some 
thoughts more attractive. After saluting my firiend 
with a joke, and grasping my hand with a cordial 
welcome, he went at once to the subject upon which 
I came. The rapid conception of the features of my 
plan ; the few brief questions as to my wishes ; the 
manifestation of a warm interest in my views with- 
out the slightest attempt to be patronizing, were 
most gratifying to me. The image of the great 
orator of 1820 altogether vanished when I listened 
to the unpretentious and often playful words of one 
of the best table-talkers of 1826, — ^it vanished, even 
as the full-bottomed wig of that time seemed to 
have belonged to some other head than the close- 
cropped one upon which I looked. The foremost 
advocate of popular education made no harangues 
about its advantages. He did not indoctrinate me, 
as I have been bored by many an educationist 
before and since, with flourishes upon a subject 
which he gave Mr. Hill and myself full credit 
for comjffehending. M. Charles Dupin said to 
Mackintosh, after a night in the House of Com- 
mons — "I heard not one word about the bless- 
ings of Liberty." — " No, no,*' replied Mackintosh, 
"we take all that for granted." So did Henry 
Brougham take for granted that he and I were 
in accord upon the subject of the Diffusion of 
Knowledge. He was then within a few days of the 
completion of his forty-seventh year; fall of health 

Ch. IL] 



and energy— one who had been workmg without 
intermission in literature, in science, in law, in 
politics, for a quarter of a century, but one to 
whom no work seemed to bring fatigue ; no tedious 
mornings of the King's Bench, no sleepless nights 
of the House of Commons, able to stale his infinite 
variety." From that hour I felt more confidence in 
talking with perfect freedom to him who worthily 
filled so large a space in the world's eye, than tp many 
a man of commonplaces, whose depths I had plumbed 
and had found them shallow. That first interview 
with Mr. Brougham was an event that had a maiked 
influence upon many subsequent passages of my 

It would be a fruitless and wearisome story of 
private affairs, were I to detail the circumstances 
under which my imfortunate "National Library,** 
having been at first taken up by the Society of 
which Mr. Brougham was President, and negotia- 
tions having been opened with their publishers> was 
finally adopted by Mr. Murray, with an earnestness 
which was to me very assuring, after my long term 
of enforced idleness and dark apprehensions. The 
eminent West-end publisher was committed to the 
enterprise, by the issue of the Prospectus in his own 
name, which I had so carefully prepared. In my 
original Prospectus^ which I had submitted to Mr. 
Murray in February, 1826, 1 had said, " It is our 
peculiar object to condense the information which is 
scattered through voluminoms and expensive work% 
into the form and substance of Original Treatises.** 
In the Prospectus issued on the 24th of December, 
it was set fortibihat " the diviaons of Popular Enow* 
ledge in which the National Library is arranged, will 

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comprehend, in distinct Treatises, the most important 
branches of instruction and amusement. They will 
present the most valuable and interesting articles of 
an Encyclopaedia, in a form accessible to every descrip- 
tion of purchaser." This final Prospectus is printed, 
m eoctemo, in Goodhugh's "English Gentleman's 
Library Manual," — ^published in May, 1827. Diflfer- 
ences of opinion about the editorial responsibility of 
the series too soon arose. Quia custodiet was 
answered by the apparition of a very solemn divine, 
who talked as a "Sir Oracle." Arrangements 
regarding my old stock and copyrights, which it 
was considered — I may say perfectly understood — 
were to be taken at a valuation, when I was about 
to merge my business in the great house of Albe- 
marle Street, presented new obstacles. Thus were 
my prospects clouded in a few weeks of 1827. I was 
heartsick at last, and abandoning the whole scheme 
left it for the imitation of others of more independent 
means. The Society for the Diffusion of Useful 
Knowledge produced their "Treatises" in March, 
and Messrs. Longman their Lardner's "Cabinet 
Cyclopaedia " a few years afterwards. Mr. Murray, I 
had reason to believe, had become frightened at the 
magnitude of my plan. He several times said to me, 
"where will you find the men to write these books?" 
In my maturer experience I came to perceive that 
this was the real difficulty in such undertakings. 

Let me hasten to close these recollections of the 
spring of 1827. Scott writes of old letters, some- 
where in his Diary, "they rise up as scorpions to hiss 
at me." So may I write of the documents by which 
I trace this crisis of my life. My abortive efforts to 
begin a new career, shaking off future responsibilities 

Ch. II.] 



of trade^ made the responsibilities which remained 
more onerous. My boat was stranded Happily for 
me there were no wreckers at hand ready for the 
plunder of my damaged cargo. A private trust 
administered my affairs^ whose only concern was to 
realize — to sell, to the best advantage, land, houses, 
newspaper, stock, copyrights. I would not be a 
burden. I would earn my own bread I walked forth 
from my business homes in London and Windsor, after 
the fashion of a man represented in a wood-cut in a 
title-page of one of the old printers (I think it was 
a work of Budaeus) which comes into my thoughts — ^a 
man, not bowed down by age or sorrow, moving for- 
ward, not briskly, but not unsteadily, with his stout 
staff, and his small wallet, and a label of four words,. 
— "Omnia mea mecum porto." 


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AM living at Brompton, with my wife and 
four little girls. The house which we 
have chosen in whidh to begin a new and 
unambitious life is in a narrow road. 

called Cromwell Lane, through which few people 
pasa Our long slip of garden is bounded on one 
side by the high wall of Cromwell House, the reputed 
mansion of the Protector. We are surrounded by 
nursery grounds. I can no longer find the place 
where I dwelt for two or three years. The few 
unpretending houses, nestling in snug gardens, have 
given place to squares, and rows, and to " Great 
Exhibition buildings — ^themselves doomed prema- 
turely to perish. Perchance I might discover some 
traces of the quiet corner if the humble tavern still 
remains that was once known as " The Hoop and 
Toy." Does the "Goat in Boots" stiU exist?— 
another landmark. The daughter of a very dear 
friend, who afterwards occupied our house, was eager 
to tell us that, when she visited the Exhibition of 
1862, she rejoiced to find, in a small plot of ground 
not yet subdued to the tyranny of brick and mortar, 
a single apple-tree, which she could identify as the 
tree under which she had sat as a child, looking wist- 
fully up at the ripening fruit. Why do I linger about 
this unpretentious abiding place of 1827 ? Because 



it was to me a8 a city of refuge. Here I first 
relinquished the hope of commercial success, haying 
surrendered to others my commercial responsibilities. 
I had much for which to be grateful to the All-giver. 
I had presenred my bodily and mental health. I 
had domestic confidence and peace. The " precious 
jewel" in the toad's head was not undiscovered. I 
was determined to work, and I was equally resolved 
to be as happy as I could be. I did not repine at 
the turn of Fortune s wheel Amongst some papers 
of this period I find a scrap on which I had written, 
— ^If the capacity to enjoy were oommensumte with 
the power to possess, we then, indeed, might com- 
plain of the inequality of our conditions. 

Looking back upon the summer of 1827, 1 have 
no recollection of such hours of gloom as belonged 
to the previous year. No unkindness wounded my 
pride ; no desertion of old fiiends rendered me mis- 
anthropicaL I had quickly obtained an engagement 
as a writer in Mr. Buckingham's new paper, " The 
Sphinx." High-priced as it was — a shilling — ^it had 
a considerable sale. I wrote political articles and 
reviewBL At that time I was an enthusiast in public 
affidrs. Canning was the head of a new administra- 
tion. On the 1st o£ May I had stood in the crowded 
avenues of the House of Commons, and had seen for 
a mom^t his radiant &ce, as ke rapidly mounted the 
old staircase whidb led to the lobby, ab<mt to take the 
foretaiost place, and vindicate his policy before many 
detractors and some new frienda There were whis- 
pered blessings upon many lips. In that triumph 
c{ the minister who had shaken off the shackles 
of the great Continental Powers, and had carried 
England into the camp of progress and liberty," I 

B 2 

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regarded the man as the " deliverer " described by 
Burke, in words almost profane in their idolatrous 
admiration. But I may look back upon that memo- 
rable occasion, and soberly say, — " Nor did he seem 
insensible to the best of all earthly rewards, the love 
and admiration of his fellow citizens. Hope ele- 
vated and joy brightened his crest" — [Speech on 
American Taxationy 1774.] On the 16th of August 
I saw him laid in his grave, in the north transept of 
Westminster Abbey. On the previous 20th of Janu- 
ary, I had seen him standing for two hours of the 
bitterest night, upon the cold unmatted pavement of 
the nave of St. George's Chapel, at the funeral of the 
Duke of York He did not take the precaution 
which he had suggested to Lord Eldon, to stand upon 
his cocked hat. That funeral broke up the delicate 
health of George Canning. 

My course of journalism under Mr. James Silk 
Buckingham was not agreeable. Perhaps I had been 
too long my own master in such matters to brook 
control and criticism. Perhaps I formed too low an 
estimate of his knowledge and ability. His wonder- 
ful fluency as a platform speaker, pouring forth plati- 
tude after platitude, was calculated to catch the 
multitude. He has written scores of volumes in the 
same style, and I may ask " where are they V I 
cared not how wearisome were his own newspaper 
prolusions ; but I rebelled against his unparalleled 
conceit. He outraged me by presuming to alter, in 
his own obtuse fashion, some spirited lines on the 
death of Canning, which Praed had sent me. I at 
once quitted his office — ^where I had diligently 
laboured, and not without success— when he pro- 
posed an amended scale of remuneration for critiques 

Digitized by 

Ch. III.] 



on new books, beginning at half-a-crown and rising 
to a guinea, according to the length of the article. I 
know not whether he found journeymen at this rate. 
I know not whether literature was degraded then, or 
is now, by the pretence of giving an opinion of a 
book, amongst what are called " short notices," at 
the rate of threepence a line, to be earned by men 
who ought to have been hewers of wood and drawers 
of water. Happily a more worthy course of industry 
was opening for me. But before I enter upon the 
" passages " of an employment which was spread 
over nearly twenty years, let me glance at a tempo- 
rary labour of 1827. What were then called 
" The Annuals " were introduced to England by 
Mr. Ackermann, in his " Forget-me-not " of 1822. 
Alaric Watts followed with his " Literary Souvenir." 
Samuel Carter Hall started " The Amulet," for the 
especial use of " serious persons." In 1827 I was 
asked to edit " Friendship's Oflfering." It was an 
enterprise hastily entered upon by Messrs. Smith and 
Elder, late in the season, and I had to obtain pictures 
for engraving, secure contributors, and see the book 
through the press in two or three months. The 
pleasantest thing about the engagement was that 
my friends of the " Quarterly Magazine,*' Mr. Praed 
and Mr. Moultrie, with others of their following, 
rallied round me, and contributed the most original 
pages of a volume, for which, like its rivals, there 
would be no lack of sentimental stories, and verses 
somewhat mawkish with their bowers and flowers. 
The most disagreeable thing was, that a blockhead 
behind the scenes, in the confidence of the pub- 
lishers, took upon himself to change the title which 
Praed had given to his poem, and had it printed 

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as " The Red Fisherman" instead of " The Devil's 
Decoy." My friend had nearly quarrelled with me 
about this matter, in which I was really blameless. 
He had a right to be angry, for the poem was, I 
am inclined to think, his chef-dJoBUvre. New An- 
nuals started up, in the next and few following 
years, amongst the best of which was The Anni- 
versary," edited by Allan Cunningham, who had 
it in his power to make as good a book of this 
sort as could be produced, from the esteem with 
which he was r^arded by the best writers and the 
best artists. There were Keepsakes, and Gems, and 
Bijous ; but these delicate flowerets of the literary 
hotbed had a brief existence. They did more for 
the arts than for letters. They had set a great 
many people scribbling, who would never have 
dreamt of committing the sin of rhyme without 
such excitements, and they had compelled some of 
those who could write well to adopt a style anything 
but vigorous and original. They were perhaps right, 
and so were the editors and publishers. It was a 
period in which, except in a few rare instances, 
mediocrity was essentially necessary to great literary 
success. There was a poem entitled " The Omni- 
presence of the Deity," by one whose fame settled 
into the name of " the wrong Montgomery ; " the 
good old champion of freedom, the right Mont- 
gomery, being then alive and honoured by all com- 
petent judges. It went rapidly through five or six 
editions. The " Excursion " had reached a second 
edition in ten years. 

A document, which I value as a soldier who has 
seen long service values his first Commission, lies 
before me : — 



" GxNBfiAL MEETnro of ih« Committee for the Diffttsion of 
Usefid Knowledge.— 26th July, 1827. 

*' Mr. Hill having infonned the Committee that Mr. Charles 
Eiiight was willing to imdertake the superintendence of the 
Society*s Pnblicationa, it was 


** That his services be accepted, and that it be referred to 
the Publication Committee to funush him with the necessary 

At that time the only publications of the Society 
were the Treatises of the " Library of Useful Know- 
ledge/' issued fortnightly in sixpenny numbers. The 
Series had been commenced in the Spring, with Mr. 
Brougham's "Discourse on the Objects, Advantages, 
and Pleasures of Science." The sale of this work 
had been as extraordinary as its merits were striking 
and almost unexampled. Some called it superficial, 
because it touched rapidly upon many departmente 
of scientific knowledge ; but the more just conclusion 
was that it was the work of " a full man/' who had 
not laboriously elaborated this flEiscinating treatise out 
of books recently studied or hastily referred to, but 
had poured it forth out of the accumulated wealth of 
his rich treasury of knowledge. No reader to whom 
the subjects treated of were in any degree new could 
read this little book without feeling an ardent desire 
to know more — ^to know alL Such were my own 
feelings as I devoured this tract on the outside of an 
Aylesbury coach, and bitterly regretted that upon 
mere business considerations I had lost the chance of 
becoming intimate with the auihor of such a book, 
as his fellow-labourer in the work of popular en- 
lightenment It could scarcely be expected that 
many other Treatises could have the same attraction 

James MUI, Esq., in the Chair. 



as this Preliminary Discourse. They were to be- 
manuals for self-education — clear, accurate, but not 
to be mastered without diligence and perseverance. 
Their success made it clear that there was a great 
body of students — ^whether in Colleges or Mechanics' 
Institutes, in busy towns or quiet villages, to whom 
such guides would be welcome. My duties, in con- 
nexion with this Series, were scarcely more than 
ministerial. I had to read manuscripts and give an 
opinion upon them, although the decision did not 
rest with me but with the Committee. Upon the 
higher scientific subjects I was not competent to give 
an opinion as regarded their correctness, but I could 
judge how far they were adapted for popular use. I 
was thus what the Germans, I believe, call a vorleaer. 
Proofs went through my hands as they passed the Com- 
mittee, and the printers were kept up to their work. 
I could not reasonably shrink from this drudgery, 
for I saw men of high station and literary eminence 
— statesmen, lawyers, physicians, willingly perform- 
ing it. It was not necessary that I should regularly 
attend at the Offices of the Society in FumivaFs 
Inn ; but I had often to confer with Mr. Coates, the 
active and intelligent Secretary of the Society, and 
to attend some meetings of the general and special 
Committees. I gradually came to form a just esti- 
mate of the individual characters and qualifications of 
those with whom I was brought in contact. I found 
them, collectively, very different from provincial 
Committees of which I had once had some experience 
—earnest in the pursuit of a common object ; not 
intent upon personal display or the assertion of petty 
se&importance ; men of cultivated minds, each treat- 
ing the opinions of the others with respect ; the most 

Digitized by 

Cli. III.] 



capable amongst them the most modest ; in a word, 
gentlemen and scholars. I felt that it depended 
upon myself some day to win their confidence in a 
position of higher responsibility than my early labours 

In these pursuits, the summer of 1827 wore away. 
I was not without my pleasures. I delighted to 
walk in Kensington Gardens, sometimes on a holiday 
afternoon with my elder girls — more frequently in 
the early morning on my way to town. Glancing — 
in the intervals of my present task of reviving old 
memories, — at the work of a poet who ought to be 
more widely known, I find these lines : — 

Once as I stray 'd a student, happiest then, 
What time the summer's garniture was on. 
Breath the princely shades of Kensington, 
A girl I spied, whose years might number ten, 
t "With full round eyes, and fair soft English face."* 

In such' a season, when the sun was scarcely high 
enough to have dried up the dews of Kensington's 
green alleys, as I passed along the broad central 
walk, I saw a group on the lawn before the Palace, 
which, to my mind, was a vision of exquisite loveli- 
ness. The Duchess of Kent, and her daughter, 
whose years then numbered nine, are breakfastilig 
in the open air — ^a single page attending upon them 
at a respectful distance — the matron looking on with 
eyes of love, whilst the " fair soft English face " is 
bright with smiles. The world of fashion is not yet 
astir. Clerks and mechanics, passing onward to their 
occupations, are few; and they exhibit nothing of 

♦ ** Lays of Middle Age ; " by James Hedderwick, 1859. 

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that vulgar cmiocdty which I think is more com- 
monly found in the class of the merely rich> than in 
the ranks below them in the world's estimation. 
What a beantifdl characteristic it seemed to me of 
the training of this royal girl, that she should not 
have been taught to shrink from the public eye — 
that she should not have been biirthened with a 
premature conception of her probable high destiny 
—that she should enjoy the freedom and simplicity 
of a child's nature — ^that she should not be restramed 
when she starts up from the break&st-table and runs 
to gather a flower in the adjoining parterre — that 
her merry laugh should be as fearless as the notes of 
the thrush in the groves around her. I passed on 
and blessed her ; and I thank God that I have lived 
to see the golden fruits of such training. 

At this period the Almanacs of the Stationers* 
Company were published within a few days of Lord # 
Mayor's Day, the 9th of November. Before their 
issue, the Master and other magnates of the Com- 
pany used to go in their barge to Lambeth, to 
present copies of all their Almanacs to the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury. In Erskine's famous Speech 
in 1779, when Lord North brought a Bill into the 
House of Commons for re-vesting in the Stationers' 
Company a monopoly which had been declared 
illegal by the Court of Common Pleas in 1775, he 
adverted to " the episcopal revision" which formerly 
existed, when the Universities, as well as the Sta- 
tioners* Company, were alone authorised to print 
Almanacs. **It is notorious," said the great advo- 
cate, " that the Universities sell their right to the 
Stationers' Company for a fixed annual sum ; and it 
is equally notorious, that the Stationers' Company 

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make a scandaloiis job of the bargain ; and to in- 
crease the sale of Almanacs amongst the vulgar, 
publish, imder the auspices of religion and learning, 
the most senseless absurdities." His respect for tilie 
House, he said, prevented him from citing some 
sentences from the one hundred and thirteenth of 
the series of Poor Bobin's Almanac, published under 
the revision of the Archbishop of Canterbury and 
the Bishop of London. " The worst part of Bochea- 
ter is Padies' reading, compared with them." The 
monopoly of 1779 was destroyed. But the powerful 
Company bought off the competitors who rose up 
from time to time. They had become possessed in 
1827 of an exclusive market for stamped Almanacs ; 
and, in the absence of all tsompetition, the absurdities 
and the indecencies flourished as vigorously as when 
Erskine denounced them half a century before. The 
solemn farce was still enacted once a year of laying 
these productions at the feet of the Primate, when 
" episcopal revision" for state purposes was as extinct 
as the Star Chamber. They were still, as Erskine 
described the ancient mockery, to be sanctified by 
the blessings of the bishopa" 

I had long been conversant with the character of 
these productions. Upon the day of their publica- 
tion for the year 1828 I bought them all, and 
eagerly applied myself to discover if they had be- 
come more adapted to the improving intelligence 
of the age. First, there was "Francis Moore, 
Physician," who had commenced his career of im- 
posture in 1698. He then dated his productions 
"from the sign of Lilly's Head, in Crown Court, 
near Cupid's Bridge, in Lambeth parish ; " where 
he advertised for sale "his famous familiar fEimily 

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cathartick and diuretick purging pills." Here the 
''author also cures all sorts of agues at once;" and 
he adds^ in the true spirit of his ahnanac, " this dis- 
temper often comes by supernatural means, which is 
the reason it will not yield to natural means." In 
1827, when the Almanac stamp was fifteen pence, 
the people of England, calling themselves en- 
lightened, voluntarily taxed themselves to pay an 
annual sum of fifteen thousand poimds to the 
government, for permission to read the unchanged 
trash which first obtained currency and belief when 
every village had its witch and every churchyard 
its ghost — ^when agues were cured by charms, and 
stolen spoons discovered by incantation. Surely 
it was full time that "Francis Moore, Physician," 
should be boldly dealt with. No common assaults 
would do. He would survive ridicule, as " Part- 
ridge's Almanack " survived the wicked wit of 
Swift, although Bickerstafif had killed the real Alma- 
nac for a season, and frightened the seer from ever 
attempting to set it up again. The Stationers' Com- 
pany were not to be so beaten ; and they had the 
impudence to publish a "Partridge's Almanack" 
with a portrait of the discomfited astrologer, which 
he refused to acknowledge, obstinately persisting not 
to prophesy in the flesh. The Company evoked the 
ghost of Partridge to do the needful work, and the 
Almanac for 1828 bore this motto, — "Etiam mortum 
loquitur" Another astrological Almanac, "Season 
on Seasons," still existed for 1828, modelled after 
the fashion of the palmy days of Lilly and Gadbury. 
" Moore Improved," particularly adapted for farmers 
and country gentlemen, was as impudent in his 
astrology as his great ancestor. All the Almanacs 

Digitized by 

Ch. III.] 



of the Stationers' Company had their prophecies 
that on a particular day of the coming year it 
would rain or shine — ^that there would be ''good 
weather for the hay season in July, and in August 
fine harvest weather about the middle of the 
month." In Swift's wonderful piece of solemn 
humour, the account of Partridge's death, he makes 
the old sinner confess his "impositions on the 
people," and say, " We have a common form for all 
these things : as to foretelling the weather, we never 
meddle with that, but leave it to the printer, who 
takes it out of any old almanac as he thinks fit." 
This, which looks like a mere joke in 1709, was easy 
of proof in 1827, by comparing the Almanac of the 
reign of Charles II. with the Almanac of George II., 
and both with the Almanac of George IV. The only 
variation in the weather prophecies was in "Poor 
Robin's Almanac" for 1828, when he closed his hun- 
dred and sixty-eighth year, a drivelling idiot, still 
clinging to his old filtk Could any reader of this 
day imagine that in the year when the London 
University was opened, and the Society for the 
Diffusion of Useful Knowledge was beginning its 
work, he could find these lines at the head of the 
Calendar for January? 

" If it don't snow 
I don't care. 
But if it freezes^ 
It may as it pleases 
And then I sneezes, 
And my nose blow." 

Armed with such materials, I immediately went to 
work, to elaborate the scheme of a rational and useful 

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Almanac. It was completed in a few days, and I 
took it to my steady friend, Matthew Hill. We went 
together to Westminster, to consult Mr. Brougham. 
What an incalculable source of satisfeu^ion to a pro- 
jector^ even of so apparently humble a work as an 
Almanac, to find a man of ardent and capacious 
mind, quick to comprehend, frank to approve, not 
deeming a difficult undertaking impossible, ready not 
only for counsel but for action. ^ It is now the middle 
of November," said the rapid genius of unprocrasti- 
nating labour — "can you have your Almanac out 
^ before the end of the year?* "Yes; with a little 
help in the scientific matters." Then tell Mr. Coates 
to call a meeting of the General Committee at my 
chambers, at half-past eight to-morrow morning. 
You shall have help enough. There 's Lubbock and 
Wrottesley and Daniel and Beaufort — you may have 
your choice of good men for your astronomy and 
meteorology, your tides and your ecUpses. Geo to 
work, and never fear." The market^gaideners of 
Brompton were scarcely yet astir when I started to 
walk to Lincoln's Inn. The morning was dismal ; 
the road was soUtary. When I reached the top of 
Sloane Street, I was encountered by a dense fog — so 
heavy that I remember feeling my way by the iron 
railings in front of Apsley House, and so groping 
through Piccadilly. I began to despair of keeping 
the appointment which I deemed so important. But 
I persevered. That fog seemed to me as a type of 
the difficulties that I might have to encounter in 
this novel attempt, and in the realization of other 
projects floating in my mind. In Mr. Brougham's 
chambers there was assembled a quorum of the Com- 
mittee. The energy of the Chairman swept away 

Digitized by 

Ch. III.] 



ereiy doubt. The work was committed to my charge. 
The aid which had been suggested to me was freely 
giveiL I remembered the sarcastic exclamation of 
Erskine, when he was contending against the re- 
establishment of the usurped monopoly of the Uni- 
Tersities — ''Is it imagined that our Almanacs are to 
oome to u% in future, in the classical arrangement of 
Oxford,— fraught with the mathematics and astro- 
nomy of Cambridgel'* It might be so with one 
Almanac not '' printed with the correct type of the 
Stationers' CJompany." Our supporters would little 
care for the pretence, still kept up, that the respon- 
sibility of that Company prevented the inconveniences 
that might arise to the public from mistakes in the 
matters that Almanacs contained. A constant friend 
through many years, the hydrografdier a£ the Admi- 
ralty, Captain Beaufort, found a gentleman in his 
office who quickly prepared the various astronomical 
tables. There were senior wranglers, " fraught with 
ihe mathematics and astronomy of Cambridge," whose 
names had been rapidly mentioned to me by Mr. 
Brougham, ready to look over the proo£3. I arranged 
the business terms with the Finance Committee of 
the Society, upon the principle of paying a rent upon 
the numb^ sold. "The Britieh Ahrumac" was 
paUiidied before the 1st of January. Late as it was 
in the field, high as was its imavoidable price — half- 
a-crown, to cover the heavy stamp duty, and allow a 
profit to the retailers — ten thousand were sold in a 
week. I had thus encouragement to propose a col 
lateral scheme to the Socieij. In their Annns^l 
Report issued at the beginning of February, was this 
announcement : — A Campcmion to t&e Almomac is 
in the press, which will treat of many important 

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branches of knowledge." The pair have travelled on 
together for thirty-seven years under my direction, 
through many changes of times and men — ^through 
many a social revolution, bloodless and beneficent — 
through a wonderful era of progress in commerce, in 
literature, in science, in the arts — ^in the manifesta- 
tions of the approach of all ranks to that union of 
interests and feelings which is the most solid founda- 
tion of public happiness, and the best defence against 
assaults from without. The general features of these 
publications have undergone very little change during 
this long period. The two objects which have been 
always kept in view in the preparation of the " Com- 
panion" were set forth in 1828:— "1st. That the 
subjects selected shall be generally useful, either for 
present information or future reference. 2ndly. That 
the knowledge conveyed shall be given in the most 
condensed and explicit manner, so as to be valuable 
to every class of readers." 

Let me mention, before I quit this subject of the 
high-priced Almanacs of 1828, that the Stationers' 
Company had long had to struggle against more 
formidable competitors even than the Useful Know- 
ledge Society. The United Kingdom was inundated 
with unstamped Almanacs. Mr. Henry Mayhew 
bears his testimony to this inevitable consequence 
of an enormous duty upon any article of luxury or 
necessity. A street-seller of memorandum books 
told him that the almanac street trade "was a capi- 
tal trade once before the duty was taken off — 
capital ! The duty was not in our way, so much as 
in the shopkeepers', though they did a good deal on 
the sly in unstamped almanacs. . • • Anything 
that way when Government's done has a ready 

Ch. III.] 



sale." * In 1833, 1 sent out a circular letter to each 
of my agents in the great towns, for the purpose 
of ascertaining some facts relating to the sale of 
unstamped almanacs. On their authority I was 
enabled to state, in a Report which led to the total 
repeal of the Almanac Duty, that, thi'oughout the 
midland and northern counties, and also in the south 
and west of England, unstamped almanacs, princi- 
pally in the sheet form, but in some places stitched 
as books, are hawked about the towns and villages, 
and openly as well as privately sold in shops. In 
Scotland a much larger sale of unstamped almanacs, 
known as Aberdeen or Belfast Almanacs, regularly 
took placa Those in the book form, containing from 
twenty, to twenty-four pages, were sold at the price 
of a penny, twopence, or threepence. The " Belfast 
Annual Prognosticator " for 1829, price threepence, 
is now before me. It contains a great variety of 
information ; it has no astrology ; and if its " droll 
stories" are somewhat dull, they are not indecent. 
"The Padd/s Watch," a penny street almanac, has 
weather predictions, but no prophecies of political 
events, and its only approach to quackery is a recipe 
to cure the cramp. Clearly the low-priced and il- 
legal almanac trade was conducted with more regard 
to the morals and intelligence of the people than 
the impostures and indecencies of the Stationers*. 

Parliament was opened on the 29th of January, 
1828. The administration which had survived its 
brilliant chief, Mr. Canning, was broken up; but 
Mr. Peel, who had returned to his post of Home 

* " London Labour and London Poor," VoL L p. 271. 

VOL. II. p 

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Secretaiy, caring not for the dissatkfiftctioii of uUara^ 
Tories^" aoid feeling that the nation conld no longer 
be governed by cofmtrj gentlemen/' had soeoeeded 
in ate formation of a mixed gOTemmwt^ under 
the Ihike of WelUngton as prime-nunkter. Mr. 
Brougham, at the opening of the session, declared 
his o|Mnion in the debate upon the address, that it 
was unconstitntional that almost the whole patrcoi- 
age of the State should be placed in the hands of a 
military premiei: The concluding passage of his 
speedi ran through the comitry, and dwelt fear BYer 
in men s minds in its axiomatic power. " There had 
been periods when the country heard with dismay 
that the soldier was abroad. That is nc^ the case 
now. Let the soldier be ctct so mfoch abroad in 
the present age, he could do nothing. Theie is 
another person abroad — ^a less impoirtaict peisan, in 
the eyes of some an insignificant person, whose 
labours have tended to produce tiais state of thiiigs 
~the schodmaster is abroad.'^ Within a week of 
this dedaraticm came out the Annual RqKHi; of the 
Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge— a 
body labouring with him who had been amoogat the 
foremost oi those who had set the schooboa^er t& a 
greater work than his routine tadks of a pvevioxis 
generation. That Report said : The success which 
has attended the labo^uis of tiie Cocumittee, to make 
the most useful and the most exalted truths <rf science 
ea^ly and generally acces^Ue, grea^ as it has been, 
was not unexpected by any who reflected upon the 
desire of knowledge, hap{Hly so signal a characteristic 
of this aga It has encouraged them to extend their 
efforts, and to leave nothing undone, until knowledge 
has become as plentiful and as universally diffused 

Digitized by 

€k. III.] 



m the air we breathe." This was a bold dedaration 
— a solemn pledge. I felt carried along with it, to 
be up and be doing. Even as John Day, one of our 
great printers of the sixteenth centiiiy, took for his 
mark an emblematic device of the day-spring of the 
Beformed religion, with the mottOy ** Arine, for it is 
Day," would I work in the sprit of this pledge, till 
the wide fields of knowledge should become the 
inheritance of alL Why should I despair? I also 
wa» filled with an enthusiastic hope that the^ time 
would come, when the progrfss of civilisation should 
accomplish for the intellectual world something like 
what it had done, and was doing, for the physical. 
As vineyards were smilmg upon q>ot9 of Fmnce 
which were inaccessible to the legions of Caesar, 
SO' would the vines and fig-^trees of knowledge shoot 
up, in the place of those forests of pedantry, and thftt 
undergrowth of weeds and brambles, where: eommon 
sense could never pierce. In March, I beemsie a 
part proprietor of The London Magasine/' In the 
first number of a new Series for April, I wrote m 
article on the Eduieation of the People.'' I venture 
upon a somewhat too* long extract, justified, perhaps, 
by the belief that there is still much work to do, and 
always will be, for the labourers m this inexhaustible 

'* That which they have done but earnest of the things that 

Thus, then, I spoke some plain wtjrds in 1828 ; 
when I was at work in the preparation of a series 
announced by the Society in their report, "The 
Library of Entertaining Knowledge" : — 

''Nothing but a very narrow view of the actual 

F 2 

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state of intelligence amongst the British people would 
limit any scheme of popular instruction to the 
labouring classes only. It is true, that the majority 
of these have been educated in the National, or 
Lancastrian, or old Free Schools, and that there they 
have learned little beyond a pretty general acquaint- 
ance with the Holy Scriptures, writing, and the 
commonest elements of arithmetic. But they are 
thrown into the world, and they find they must 
think, either to rise out of their own rank, or to be 
respectable amongst the class in which they were 
bom. And how much better oflF, in point of real 
knowledge, are the sons of the middle classes, who 
at fifteen are placed in attorney's offices, or behind 
the counters of the draper or the druggist ? They 
have been taught to write and read; they have 
fagged at arithmetic for seven years, imder the 
wretched old boarding-school system, without having 
attained the remotest conception of its philosophy ; 
they are worse than ignorant of History and Geo- 
graphy ; of science they never heard, except when 
they saw Mr. Walker's Eidouranion in the Christmas 
holidays ; their literature is confined to a few cor- 
rupting novels, the bequest of the Minerva press to the 
circulating library of the last age. Shall we say that 
the children of the rich and the noble — jpar eoccel- 
UncCy the educated classes — ^have nothing to learn ? 
' What is the best system of education in Europe ? ' 
said an anxious enquirer to Talleyrand. His answer 
was, ' The public education of England. EUe est 
ex^rabU* Why then should we talk of addressing 
popular literature to the worki/iig classes only. We 
all want Popular Literature — ^we all want to get at 
real and substantial knowledge by the m6st compen- 

Digitized by 

Ch. III.] 



dious processes. We are all too ignorant, (except 
those with whom learning is the business of life,) 
of the wonders of Nature which we see around us 
— of the discoveries of Science and Philosophy — 
of our own minds — of the real History of past 
ages— of the manners and political condition of 
the other members of the great human family. 
Our acquaintance with our own noble literature 
is superficial and ill-digested ; we have scarcely 
patience to winnow the com from the husks. 
But we are all tasked, some by our worthless 
ambitions and engrossing pleasures — most by our 
necessary duties — ^by our daily labour whether in 
professions, or trades, or handicraft. We are ashamed 
of our ignorance — ^we cannot remain in it ; but we 
have not time to attam any sound knowledge upon 
the ancient principle of reading doggedly through a 
miscellaneous library, even if we had the opportu- 
nity. The problem now to be solved is, how to 
accommodate the growing desire of all persons for 
solid information, to the overwhelming necessity 
which presses upon all persons to labour, almost 
to the utmost stretch of their faculties, in their 
peculiar vocations." 

Before I got fairly to work in the preparatory 
stages of the " Library of Entertaining Knowledge," I 
had the pleasure of performing an acceptable service 
for Mr. Brougham. He had requested me to take 
notes of a speech he was about to make in the House 
of Commons, on the subject of Eeforms in the Courts 
of Common Law. The object of this arrangement 
was to produce a volume, that should stand as a 
permanent record of the comprehensive views of the 
Law Reformer, upon those abuses which were felt by 

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every man who was eonstraiQed to seek for ju«tioe in 
the Courts of King's Bench, Cooamoa Pleas, or Ex* 
oheqiaer. The magmtiiule of i^e detaik was such as 
te deter mj mm. from s^roachimg them for legis* 
ladve oousidenution, except the osne man who could 
grasp them all, imiashal them in due order, and bind 
the whole together by the power «of philosophie 
geiieralisation. My business would be to compare all 
the reports of the daily pa^rs, to add frosn my own 
notes, to introddiiee documents, and to carry the book 
thro^h the press aiter the orator had examined 
this version of his great effcot. Osi the afternoon of 
the 7th of February I 9m waiting the wrival of Mr. 
Brougham m the Lobby of the Houfse af Commons. 
He soon arrives, m ^eompawy with Mr. Serjeant Wilde. 
A little delay easues, before the Speaker sends the 
orders far Ofar admission under the GaUery. Mx, 
SerjeSiEit Wilde and I «tat together for six lho^urs> 
lif^enmg to this extraordinary dispiby of mental and 
physical «jaexgy;<^the orator iicever wearied, the lis** 
ten^ ae^er wearying. Dming the whole time, from 
five o'elodc till eleveii, there were no signs of im* 
patience in an audience always impatient of tedious* 
ness. The speaker's powers of memory in deaUng 
with technical &ct8,^->his readiuess in massing these 
complicated details so as to make them tell upon his 
general argum^t, — hi^ delivery, now familiar and 
joeotte, now impressive and almost solemn, — ^these 
qualities held many of the listeners from the first 
hour to the last, when the magmfioeint peromtion 
sent many home with ik^ hope, if not the resolve, 
t^at law should foe no longer dear but eheap ; not a 
sealed book, but a living letter ; not the patrimony 
of the rich, but the inheritance of the poor ; not the 

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two-edged sword of craft and opfxeamu, but the staff 
of lioiiefity aaid the shield of imiooenca 

Mr. Bnmgfaam had neceasahl j to encouiiter a good 
deal of ofaioquy when he Msailed those ahsuidities of 
sqaecud pleading which he t^ms "the yeneraUe fis** 
TMiitieB of the art." They aie gone, for the most 
pert. The ghosts of the antique fooleries thai were 
taught in a Header's office were exorcised from thai 
mgkk of the 7th of Fefaruary. Not for much longer 
would Jchn Brown^ complaiikant in an assault which 
eonsisied in liftmg a finger agai&st him, be made to 
deehoe tibat Wilham Smith, " with a certain stick, 
and with his fists, gave and stradc the said John a 
great maay ^violeiit blows and strokes on axid about 
hss head, &oe, breast, back, shoulders, arms, legs, 
and divQam other pairts of his body ; aad also, then 
aiid them, with great hrce aad Tiol^aoe, shook and 
puUed ahoiit him the said John, and east and threw 
him, the said J<dm, down to and upon the ground, 
and then and there violently kidded the said J<^n, 
actod gaTe and stradic: him a great many other blows 
and strokes; and also, then and there, with great 
f<Mce saad ^leuoe, rent, tofe, and damaged the clothes 
and wearing i^ipazel, to wit, one coat, one waistcoat, 
one pair of bieeches, one crayat, one diirt, one pair 
of stoekings, and one hat, of the said Joha, of great 
Tallies to wit, of the value of £50, which he the said 
John then and there wore and was clothed with.*^ 
This for a sample of the mystical worship of the 
Priests of the Law, before Common Sense had pulled 
down th^ id^. 

A fortnigbit after this memorable erening in the 
House of Commons, I was {msent at a large dinner 
in Goodman's Fields. It was an occasion really 

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worthy of a celebration, for it was given on the 
completion of a new Theatre in that populous dis- 
trict where, in 1741, David Garrick had first appeared 
before a London audience, in the character of 
Bichard the Third. This was, to some extent, the 
classic ground of the drama. The Brunswick 
Theatre had been built on the site of that old one 
called the Boyalty, which was burnt down in 1826. 
♦I was at this dinner by the invitation of the proprie- 
tors ; for I had not only known one of them, Mr. 
Maurice, a printer of Fenchurch Street, as a man of 
ability and taste, but the architect was one of my 
most intimate friends. This new Theatre at Well- 
dose Square was, undoubtedly, the most elegant of 
the minor theatres. Its beauty and its commodi- 
ousness bade fair to give Stedman Whitwell a rank 
in his profession which those who appreciated his 
abilities warmly anticipated. At that dinner I 
sat by the side of Clarkson Stanfield. His truly 
honourable career, from the position of a sailor before 
the mast, whose talent as an untaught artist was 
employed in painting scenes for the theatrical per- 
formances of the crew, was commonly known. He 
had won his way from the painting-room of the 
Boyalty Theatre, to be ranked, in 1828, amongst the 
most striking exhibitors of landscape and marine 
pieces in the British Institution and the Society of 
British Artists ; but he did not disdain to lend his 
aid to the attractions of a stage which had arisen out 
of the ashes of that school of picturesque eflfect, 
where he had toiled to obtain a mastery of his art 
scarcely to be reached in the routine of academical 
studies. I sat in pleasant talk, during a cheerful 
evening, with the genial and intelligent young man 




who had served m the ship in which Douglas Jerrold 
was a midshipman. There was another rising artist 
in that dining-room, who had received a more regular 
education in an Academy of Art at Edinburgh ; but 
who, in coming to London about 1822, had worked 
as the colleague of Stanfield as a scene-painter. 
David Roberts was also giving his zealous professional 
aid to the new enterprise. The Theatre was opened 
on the 25th of February. I was present at th^ 
second performance, when there was a filU audience. 
Some critical judges had come to this extreme East, 
to marvel at a building of singular elegance which 
had started up in seven months in a district where 
sailors and Jews aboimded ; — more plenteous, it may 
be, than the classes who might be supposed likely to 
appreciate performances not wanting in any of the 
scenic arrangements of what was then caljled, with 
some truth, the legitimate drama. 

I was sitting at work in. the room assigned to me 
at the oflSce of the Society, in Percy Street, about 
mid-day on Tuesday the 29th, when the clerk of Mr. 
Whitwell came in, pale and haggard, to ask if I knew 
where he could find his principal — ^for the Brunswick 
Theatre had fallen down. He implored me, if I saw 
him, to dissuade him from going near the place, for 
the people would tear him in pieces, the loss of life 
had been so great. I hurried to the neighbourhood. 
As I approached the scene of the calamity, the crowd 
gradually became more dense. I could not get near 
what had been the front of the building, for the wall 
had fsdlen outwards, and had destroyed in its ruins 
many houses on the opposite side of the street. The 
groans and shrieks of the multitude were appalling, 
as some dead or wounded man or woman was carried 

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tittougli the tbroBg. The prmcipal mShfets were 
actocs and actarefises, who were afiseoabled on the 
stage to oemm^ice * reheami There were also 
caipentera and otiber artisans employed about tfao 
buiUtiig. I ksamt, to my great grieC Mn 
Mauciee^ in whose company I had diioed a short time 
be£(»«^ waaaoaoiigst tibek^led. 

13dexe w»s at that time a rery popular diaseating 
pceadier m that iieighbourhoodr--&e minister of the 
haaion Maii^s' Ohwdi--<x»ttmoi%€a Boson 
SomUl" fie {MiUished a remarkable Traet " to im- 
pcoretheooeasion;*' ia which he gave a very graphic 
descnptina of what he saw and did ; £c»* he was one 
of the first aaaoiigst the spectators. There aie few 
^akagA in fietioa soiore extHmg than the foUowing 
incidefit in a seene of terror: — ""I saw a £»aale 
death-lihe %iire fomsting fitom the further €»d of the 
ruins ; and filled with horvac; not knowing what to 
do. Some men ma to her. I called oal to them to 
hc^ her over the mins; tbsy farought husr to the 
edge of the floor near the waU of the portkog and I 
raised her ^ on the floor, the people still diggmg in 
the Ik^ by the door-way to leleaee the poor labomri^, 
lest the nuns i^onkl &I1 on them. I entieated 
her to fit down a minute ; her hair was dishevelled, 
her apparel varionsly torn, the side of hex face 
coveied wi^ blood, ajid she su^^Kffted her head 
against my arm until I ccrnU get a dear passage for 
h^ to pass ; she cried out, 'Ohl do let me go ; oh, 
send some one to my sister's to saj I am alive ; oh, 
how gniteAil I oq^ to be, that my life is pre* 
served 1 ' There are few things in hxifi^Lieim more 
wanting in dbaxity than the pieacher's reply : — " I 
said, ' Yes, it is a men^ indeed : you will have to 

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thank God for it as long as you live. You would not 
die in a theatre of all other places ! I hope you will 
obtain some other mode of life 1 ' " 

When I went to my home at Brompton in the 
evening I found Mr* Whitwell ihere ; and he then 
prepared a most clear and convincing statement, 
which was published the next day, to vindicate him- 
self from chazge of having been carekss tbe 
pul^ safety. He had ptieviovisly writtoB to Sir 
Bob^ Beel, a» Secretary of State, praying him to 
dii«et a rigid inquiry into the caufies of tibe aerid^t. 
The iBquest, uzMier the authority 0£ the CoroMr for 
ihe Boyalty of the Tower, was prolonged for nearly 
six wedbi; and the issi»e clearly establisibed tlxe 
a68eFtio& of itsbe ardiiiteet, that the aceid^t was the 
result ^ an interference with his patofessiondi respcm* 
i^bSity, by addifig to his bualdmg araetioBS orer 
which he h%el bo eontrol wha;fcev^, aad against whieh 
he repeatedly protested. Such a eaknaity as this, it 
Boay be presuiafted, caa3a!K>t now arise und^ l&e 
reguhvtieiaB of the Building Aet. But it is certain 
tibat accidents as frightful may oocur, in ihesaiktm, in 
ooncert««ooe^, and more ei^>eeially in churdies and 
eliap^, from th« indiffermoe that is saanifested as 
to the efied^ of narrow passages md staircases when 
a erowd is seised with any sndden alarm. The 
Boeon Smiths may have some day in England eame 
to see tikat there is no Special l^^dence for plaees 
of worship, when the lessons of prudence are set at 
nought, gmj more than for playhouses and 

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]N the evening of the 21st of May, 1828, 
I am comfortably dining in the coflFee- 
room of a commercial inn at Birmingham, 
resting for a night after a day's coach 
journey. It is not an exclusive apartment devoted 
to the class of travellers then popularly known as 
" bagmen " ; but there are so many great-coats, 
whips, and business-looking packages scattered about, 
that I am well satisfied to have taken up my quarters 
amongst the guests who are served the best and 
charged the least. In the manufacturing districts I 
have always found that the society of the " Commer- 
cial-room " is of a superior order to that met with in 
similar resorts of the coimtry towns of the South. It 
is more common in the North for the principals of a 
firm to travel, for the twofold object of buying in the 
cheapest market, and selling in the dearest. Although 
I had no trade purposes to accomplish in this journey, 
I did not shrink from gaining information amongst 
men habitually communicative, and, naturally enough, 
asking plain questions themselves of a stranger who 
has come amongst them. Thus, on my first tour 
amongst the manufacturing districts, this inquiry has 
been put to me, — " Pray, sir, what do you travel in V 
" In Useful Knowledge, sir." My answer was literally 
true at Birmingham. I was on my way to Liverpool, 
Manchester, Leeds, York, Sheffield, Derby, Notting- 

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oliv.] the second epoch. 


ham (returning by Birmingham), to organize Local 
Committees of the Society with which I had become 
so intimately connected 

What pleasant remembrances are associated in my 
mind with journeys — not too long, and not by night 
—on the outside of a fast coach. On that May 
morning, when I was starting upon an important 
tour that would demand judgment and energy for 
the due discharge of the business with which I was 
entrusted — and yet a pleasure trip, because disem- 
barrassed of commercial responsibility — ^my spirits 
rose as if the days of anxious drudgery were overpast. 
My portfolio was filled with letters of introduction to 
persons of station and influence. They would open 
my way to the best society of these great commercial 
communities. I had moreover letters to his manu- 
facturing connexions firom a great millionaire, who in 
a few years ceased to be a member of our Committee» 
He came to my house, and begging, as he seated 
himself in my private room, that I would also take a 
seat, delivered the papers to me with the air of a 
sovereign giving his credentials to an ambassador. I 
did not find them very influential The new-mown 
grass of the fields around Highgate — over which the 
burnt clay had not yet strode to conquest after con- 
quest — ^was wooing the momiag sun ; the hawthorn 
hedges were in blossom. We creep up the hill of 
St. Albans, which, twelve centuries before, had made 
the monk of Jarrow poetical about flowery slopes. 
We dash along through Dunstable, without the 
opportunity of resting there to eat a lark, as was the 
wont when the bar travelled in post-chaises. We 
rattle over the rough stones of the narrow streets 
of Coventry. In twelve hours we have reached 

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BiJinii^MnL The zMzt" ifiondng I on my waj 
to Liverpool by an early coadi. Another nAe of 
continued enjoyment. The Gook-fields and fixmaees 
of Stafibfddiixe are not pietnzeflqiie^but to mt they 
had the eharm of iM>vBlty. The Lyme waa Aot to he 
compared to my owix familiar Thames^ bat the bostle 
and dinginefls of its banks had their assoeiatioiis with 
the beautiful and tisefal prodticts of the Potteiiee. 
Wairington was worthy of notice in eoimexion with 
some of the works of the Duke of Bridgwater, and 
Ms famous engineiNdng wonders that had then no 
ciTab in the grandeur of railway enginieering. The 
bright day has softened into twilight before Z am in 
Liverpoo}. Twenty^fotir hours- nposi the road from 
London to Liverpool m 1828 ; five hours and a half 
in 1864 1 Wondnms gain foe the accomplishment of 
the chief objects of htman industry — tor cheapening 
aoid eqtialmng the priees of commodities — hr bring- 
ing the producer and the consumer together in the 
weild's great markets — for rooting up local preju- 
dices> and making one family of twenty mxBionft of 
people*. Bixt — vaim tegeet — I shall nev^ BKyre re- 
joice, as old Sam Johnson rejoiced, im the inde- 
pendiait lide of a hundred miks m a pdstK^hadse, 
or, what wa0 more to my famey, the pfivil^e, weH 
puardiaBed for half-a^crown^ of occupyi^ the boxHieat 
of a " Dttrt," or a Begulator," or a Defiance/ or 
SOL *' SjEpress " ; initerested in the rapid change of 
horses ; listening to> the eoaehman's estim«4;e of the 
squire or the parson, as we gallop through many a 
pretty village ;^ well satisfied with the quarter of an 
hour for dinner, which may be judiciously prolonged 
ten minutes by inviting the lord of the box to a glass 
after his rapid meal ; and, to complete the s^er- 

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ciL lY.] THC ncoin) spocb. 


itoon's delight, a cigar in the balmy air, without what 
Boms describes, with reference to another siiv the 
hazard of concealiDg/' — an enjoyment of latter days 
not altogether safe, eyen though the railway potter 
ahoold hare nupended the exercise of two of hia fire 

The lirerpocd of 18^ ia as different in its 
physical aspects firom the liyerpocd of 1%2S, as it 
was at that time a nrach grander and liAeir place 
than the ''qaciidam Tillage^" described by Loid 
Erskine, — now fit to be a proud capital for any 
empire in the woald, which, has started np^ like an 
enchanted palace, eren in the memoiy of hYingmen." 
But Iirarpo<^ can scarod^ be said to have risen 

like an. exhalatioiLf* It has ever been growing. 
The Lyrpde" dsseribed by Leland as a paved 
town which hath but a dbapel/' beciKme an inde- 
pendrat pazidi witii^ a chnrdi in 16d9, and in a 
century and a half of piogreas had more than a 
hxmdred phiees of worship. Es six tboasand inha- 
bitants at tike beginning of the ei^iteenth century 
moonted up to four btmdred and forty thousand in 
the sixth decade of the nineteenth. Bat the lirer- 
pooi whidi I looked tscpon in 1828 was in a state of 
transition. It was a place &r commercial adventn- 
lea of every kind ; hat its commerce had scarcely 
then assumed the magnificent jmportkma o£ its 
great characteristic featnrea Twcnty-two yesors only 
had passed nnce the rival of Bristol in the idave 
tiade had a hundred and eleven vessels em|doyed 
in tiiat detestable traffic; and when the Wliigs, 
during thw short term of po^wer, cfifected its aboli- 
tion, there were many who thoc^ffat that the sun of 
Liveqiooi's pcoc^rity was set The Cotton Trade 

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was to do a vast deal more for the great port of the 
Mersey than the trade in human flesh — far more 
even than its tobacco trade. But the commerce of 
Liverpool was in its infancy thirty-six years ago. 
Steam had surprisingly enlarged its traffic with 
Ireland ; but no steam-vessel had yet crossed the 
Atlantia Canals had opened cheap communica- 
tion with the great seats of manufacture ; but rail- 
ways were not as yet. Nevertheless this busy place, 
scarcely second to London in its commercial activity, 
presented to me a series of remarkable objects, as 
novel as they were interesting and suggestive. 

My especial business, however, was with the intel- 
lectual and moral aspects of Liverpool, rather than 
with its material characteristics. There were new 
docks forming; new streets and squares springing 
up all around the old town ; the first stone of a new 
Custom-house had just been laid. There were then 
large open places, now covered with shops and ware- 
houses. There was no rival on the Cheshire shore. 
Birkenhead was a village of a few straggling houses. 
In Liverpool there was growth rapid and decided. 
On the opposite bank of the Mersey there was 
scarcely yet a promise of growth. On a Sunday 
evening I walked amidst holiday folks through 
green lanes which have given place to long lines of 
quays and docks. 

There was one work which for me had a fascinating 
interest — ^the timnel of the railway which was then 
in course of formation. I saw the blasting of the 
solid rock near the shaft at which I entered. I was 
led on many wearisome paces to another shaft, at 
which I was to mount to daylight. I was far higher 
up the steep ascent than at my place of entrance. I 

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Ch. IV.] 



had been walking in the tunnel beneath houses that 
stood as securely as before, sewers that still emptied 
themselves, gas-pipes that still conveyed their un- 
failing light Such a triumph of engineering was 
then a wonder. When it was proposed, wise men 
shook their heads. They were still doubtful whether 
the conveyance of goods could be cheapened by the 
railway to Manchester. It had not entered into the 
conception of the projectors of the railway, that they 
could carry passengers a journey of thirty miles in 
an hour. The locomotive was as yet little more than 
a dream. 

The gentlemen at Liverpool to whom I had letters 
of introduction were active and zealous promoters of 
education. A Local Association in connection with 
the Useful Knowledge Society was formed, of which 
Dr. TraiU, an eminent physician, was the chairman. 
I learnt through him that many individuals who at 
first affected to imderrate cheap pkUosophy had 
begun to alter their tone ; and that the mechanics 
connected with the Liverpool Listitution read and 
purchased the Treatises. " We have had," he 
said in a letter, " a few clerical opponents, and one 
lately preached against Mechanics' Institutions, and 
the difiusion of philosophical instruction, so as to be 
accessible to the lower orders. The London Univer- 
sity is usually coupled with these obnoxious innova- 
tions in the minds of such alarmists, as a part of a 
great system that is to overthrow the altar and the 
throne." Of our Local Association, Mr. J. Mulleneux, 
a most intelligent and ardent young man, was the 
treasurer. In the formation of this Association I 
had to experience, at breakfasts and dinners, the 
abundance of Liverpool hospitaUty. The tone of 

VOL. ir. G 

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society, with a tligfat tmch, of osteotation, was re- 
&ied and inteUeofcuaL Eosooe had made it under- 
«U»od that .litmny aflquiTBiBentB were not incom- 
patible with m^cantile parsuitfi. I hsd seen the 
leading men of liv^rpool upon 'Change, and I had 
rejoiced to view the eiddence of their tastes in their 
libranes and pictures. But there was ik> exercise of 
hospiialitj that gave me more pleasure than that I 
derived firom a visit to die Bev. W. Shephard, at 
Gatacre. Here he received a few pupils, and strove 
te make them hiqppy as well as leamed. He delighted 
in his pretty garden and his valuable collection of 
book& His dinner was plain but ^xedUeait He 
was full ol ready humour and ev^-present ^eexful- 
Many aa anecdote did he tell me of political 
and literary men— of Oasming and Brougham when 
they were candidates for the repvesentation of LivBr- 
poal~of BoBOoe, and of Haditt, who often came to 
see him. He was an ardent and somewhat unq>aring 
Whig partisan, — rZ should rather say a partisan in 
libeial politics. His wit, his eloquence, were iieoes- 
sary ooeasionally in Liverpool, where some men were 
crying " No Fapexy " ; and others — amongst whom 
was a oontdbutor to the same JLuaual " in which 
Mr* Shephaid vmte— considered univensal educa- 
ticoi a new and hassardous eacperimaat'' Upon the 
whole I had a very j^easant visit to Liverpool. I 
had talked with men of marked ability, besides those 
I have.named, — with iSx. Panizzi; witii Mr. Bushton, 
then a sising local barzist^, wJio had the tribute of 
Cobbett to his eloquence as "Boaring Ned." I 
formed an intimacy or two that was lasting, such as 
that of Mr. Ashton Yates. I had plenty of employ- 
ment, and J looked upon a world different from that 



mbich 1 had been aoeustomed. I fSaar that I did 
not dettden my sense of enjojrmeat by p<»ieti»ti]ig 
ialie die dwdil^gs of tlie Liverpool poQiv-4nto tbooe 
then its opprobrium, and whidi 
are still, they say, as disgracefiil as the Labourets' 
Ckitt^g^ of tiie South. 

My neicl soene <of auction yms MBaacbester. It was 
not ma iimting plftoe for a stranger to wander about 
», but I soon fouwi willii^ guides and cordial friends. 
It was not always very easy to interest the busy milt 
owners in the olgects for which I came amongst 
them. Sonne were too absorbed in their ledgers to 
hear hamg expiatnations. Others were whrflyindiflfer- 
ent to matters whieh had no lela^ion to the business 
of their lives. I persevered; and ehiefly by the 
exQsrti<»s ef a very earnest man, Mr. -George WUham 
Wood (who became the first member for Manchester 
in the R^rmed Parixanvent), a Local Afssociation 
was formed on the 6th of 3\me. Mr. Wood was its 
CSiaiiman, ttr. Benjamin Heywood its Treasurer, and 
a moet^snecgetic solicitor, Mr. Winstanley, its Secre- 
tary. Names £B»aas in Maaichester Commerce axe 
to be found in the list of the Committee, which is 
befoie me— Ewait, Greg, Houldsworth, Kennedy; 
Ooisky, Bhaxp ; men of science, Dr. Henry, ]>. 
CSiaries Homy, Dr. Kay. Dissent was represented 
by two metRhf&tB ; but the EstabMied Church sent 
-mo cloigyimn amongst us. I was requested to call 
t^on aome doEoi gentlemen of the number chosen, 
for the pmpose of answering questions and meeting 
objections. Some I saw their fieustories ; where I 
was shown all the wonders of their max^inery. I 
walked home with some to their villas, to partake 
that plenteous meal of the North which is called 

G 2 

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tea. The dinner of Manchester was at one o'clock, 
except on occasions of ceremony. The contrast be- 
tween the hospitality of Liverpool and Manchester 
was most striking. I am not sure that I did not 
prefer the simplicity of the one to the display of 
the other. On the 5th of June Mr. Brougham had 
given " The Schoolmaster" as a toast at a dinner of 
the London Mechanics' Institution. It was a watch^ 
word when I went about with my friends to advocate 
the Diffusion of Knowledge. 

When I visited Manchester in 1828, five years 
were to elapse before children and young persons 
working in factories would be protected by law 
fr'om working an unreasonable number of hours, and 
when Grovemment Inspectors would watch over the 
preservation of their health and enforce the necessity 
for their education. The first Factory Act did not 
come into operation till January, 1834. It may well 
be imagined, therefore, that in the mills I looked 
upon male and female children, from seven years of 
age till seventeen (the employment of children under 
nine years was not then prohibited), who, scarcely 
icoming under the cognizance of the masters, — ^for 
such children were subject to the control of the 
spinners, — ^were growing up in bodily weakness, in 
ignorance, and in vice. There was then little of 
kindly intercourse between the employers and the 
employed. The means of mental improvement for 
adults were very limited. A Mechanics' Institute and 
a Mechanics' and Apprentices' Library were indeed 
established in 1826. The ''Athen^um" was built 
several years later. It was remarked in 1842, that 
there was no public park or green in which the 
labouring population could enjoy healthy exercise and 



recreation. " The Peel Park," the first of those firee 
pleasure-grounds Tvhich have removed this disgrace 
from Manchester, was not opened till 1846. So rare 
was any endeavour to advance the condition of the 
workers, to promote their innocent enjoyments, to 
cheiish and instruct their children in the spirit of 
a common humanity, that when two letters to Mr. 
Homer, printed in a periodical work of 1840, recorded 
what had been done in a new miU in 1832, erected 
near Manchester by Messrs. Greg, there was a good 
deal of incredulity as to the probable results of such 
a deviation from the usual course of neglect. These 
gentlemen had built cottages for the operatives; 
they had attached a garden to each house ; they 
had established Sunday-schools ; they had arranged 
out-door exercises for the hours of leisure ; they had 
provided hot and cold baths; they had evening 
parties, to which the young people were invited by 
their employers. This solitary example soon had 
its imitators. A factory, whether for cotton, linen, 
or woollen fabrics, is not now a region especially 
suited for the cultivation of all the suspicions and 
hatreds that in former times made the relations 
between the capitalist and the labourer the most 
dangerous aspect of our social state. In November, 
1834, Mr. Bickards, the factory inspector of the 
Yorkshire and Lancashire district, thus described its 
people:— "In regarding the population of what is 
commonly called the principal manufacturing district, 
we are forcibly struck with its vast importance in a 
national point of view ; its condensation within 
limited spots; its consequent means of free inter- 
communication ; the intelligence, energy, and activity 
of many of its members, with the coarse low habits 

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the general mass ; from tlie want of souw^ m&al^ 
jHdd leligious educatioA, the slaves of vice^ faec^iidke^ 
and passion ; easily excited by hedom Aaooiast aato 
real or snpposed grievaiicesy and fonnidable in all 
such cases &om their mimencal and united streogth ; 
the bond of union between masteis and senRantsfeebty 
knit, and resembling more the. anixnosity of admvse 
interests than tha salutary influemce. of the one elase^ 
witli satisfied suborc&iation on the part of the other." 
Had this ccmdition of society continued in Lancashire 
till the cotton famine came to test. the. moiadity aad 
intdOigenee of its half miUim of tetocy workm, aad 
the Christian tempers of thoir eoapleyers, iro may 
ask where we should h^m been in IBM? 

in the factories of Manchester I had entered upm.^ 
a new stage of self^ncation. i had pve^ioui^y seen 
nothing of machinery, beyond the Printing nmd^ine^ 
whose gradual impro^ment and eapabihties I hact 
been watching with more than c(»nmon int^»9t. My* 
curiosity was roused to follo w and understand^ as fear 
B& I could, the great principles of th» wondious' in» 
ventions by which all the processes connected with 
the spinning and weaving cotton were rapidly^ and 
cheaply accomph^ed. They dwelt in my miad> mi 
gave precision to my language when I wrote ^1h& 
[Results of Madunery m December, 1890. When? I 
described the inventioit of Arkwright a»'''the' sub- 
stitution of rollers for fingers," I had seen the nmr<-* 
vellous operation in a state of improvement to which 
every day added something new, b«rt in which the 
principle was ever retained. When I asked in that 
boc&, how many, even of the best informed, knew 
that in the cotton mami^factuje invration has been at 
work ''to make metchines, that make machines, to 

Digitized by 

€!l IV.l 

THE: aaacoND spooh.. 


make the cotton thereon,'' I had seen the ''iee<i- 
making machine,'* and the cftrd-making maxMa^" 
3j^d I wae enabled nuainiely tof draciibe theix aato- 
matic opeiations* I kfb Mandieakeir with a gcate£il 
fseling that I had theze- leaimt mvBch which I should 
not readily fixget Tlie power-loom was of ceiDpa- 
ratively recent introdnretion wheiiL I fizst minted 
Manchester ; bixt my coaiiction of the imjioaBibility 
<3i the hand*-k)Qm wea^is mfixnstauiing an lameqiial 
<3ompetitio]i^ taught me tor know thai the time, must 
come when the painful stxife wQoId be enled^ aaid 
the manual workers with the rude implementa of 
past ages would be the dulled watdiiers of the steam- 
impelled shuttle. This absoipticxn of the one class 
into the other was taking plaee^ eveiL in the year 

in my yaxious eonveraatioBfi wiibh the iD^teUigent 
majmfactuiers of Manchestei; and through the 
evidence of my own senses^ I leaimt to^ esbiisate tiie 
benefits of that refiKcation of the aysti^ oif Frotectioa 
&r native industry whieh was. jost beginoiog to 
operate. Hiudkiaaon's meaaire for rem^ying pto^ 
hibitory duties upon foreign i»lks had been ioci force 
two years. The edia< wae stiEIi heaosd throu^out the 
country of the jacofltiecj of ruiaat and starva^tim ta faJl 
upon hcmdxeds and thousands '^&r the support of an 
abstract theoryj" In Manchester, silk milk wore 
stringing up^ that would famish new and profitable 
employment to hundreds and theusandfi. At the 
close of the Sessioi^ of 1828 — about six weeks after 
I had looked upon the manifestation of what a firee^ 
trade policy might accomjdi^ii — Mr. Charles Grant 
had said in the Hooee of Commons*—'' It has been 
admitted on all hands that if the old machufeery were 



adhered to, it would be impossible to compete with 
foreign rivals. Very recently only the spirit of enter- 
prise and improvement that marks our other manu- 
factures has exercised its influence upon that of silk. 
New establishments have started up in different parts 
of the kingdom; at Cardiff and at Macclesfield — 
while at Manchester they have risen like exhalations." 
At Manchester, also, I learnt to estimate the enormous 
mischief of Excise duties in their retardation, if not 
destruction, of profitable industry. I visited some of 
the dye-works and print-work& There were iogenious 
processes to be seen — ^the beginnings of the triumphs 
of chemical science; artists were engraving blocks and 
cylinders ; but there was an incubus upon the manu- 
facture pressing upon its vitality, in the shape of 
threepence halfpenny a square yard levied upon all 
printed calicoes of whatever quality. It was a tax 
bearing as hardly upon the servant-maid's coarse- 
patterned cotton gown as upon her lad/s flowery 
muslin. The exciseman was in the print-works at 
all hours. The important secrets of the trade could 
not be concealed from him. The operation of print- 
ing could not be commenced till the officer had 
measured the white cloth ; and not a piece of printed 
goods could be sent away till the officer had stamped 
it. Of the impost which produced 2,000,000i., only 
600,000i. found its way to the Exchequer. This 
oppressive tax was one of the first to be swept away 
by a more enlightened fiscal policy. It was wholly 
abolished in 1831. The excise r^ulations were the 
great bar to experiment and improvement. In 
twenty years after the removal of the duty, such was 
the progress of mechanical invention and the applica- 
tion of science, that upon the same premises, with 

Ch. 17.] 



the same amount of labour and with the same 
expendituTe of capital^ double the quantity of cloths 
were printed which were printed previous to the 
removal of the duty. I had learnt at Manchester a 
lesson as to the effects of excessive taxation and 
vexatious supemsion which I might some day apply 
to the paper manufacture. 

At Manchester^ in 1828, I witnessed the first de- 
velopment of that public spirit which, in its gra- 
dual expansion, produced the "Exhibition of Art 
Treasures" in 1857. "The Manchester Institution" 
was in course of erection. Those who professed to 
believe that the absorbing pursuits of manufacturing 
capitalists would shut out the enjoyments of Taste, 
would have received a lesson from the words of Mr. 
Hey wood (the Tre^urer of our Local Association) in 
presenting 5001. to the Institution, for the purpose of 
bestowing an annual reward for the most meritorious 
production of its students. "Allow me to hope that 
many who, like myself, can look back with gratitude 
and respect to a long connection with the town of 
Manchester, will, by promoting the interests of this 
Institution, endeavour to obtain for the town a 
character as enduring as that which, surviving the 
loss of wealth and commerce, still renders illustrious 
those communities where the refinements of Art 
were, once united to the enterprises of Trade." 

I next visited Leeda This busy town had then 
acquired the reputation, which it has not altogether 
lost, of^ being the most disagreeable place in England. 
Until I had crossed the bridge over the Aire, and, upon 
the top of the coach, had got into the broad and open 
Briggate, I thought that for crookedness, narrowness, 
and dirt its streets could compete with any town in 


Ea^ftnd. I perhafs felt this the inofe £com the 
pleafiorahle se^a I had experieneed when I had 
eaeaped from the ameke of Mandhester, to eaqoy the 
hilfehqr^xid Oldhaift. Howmuchmev&aiiovJdlhaire 
felt it had I traTelled through thooe esquiaite valkgqi. 
which the railway tourist sees too* nipidlj «a hm wagr 
from the metropolis of cotton to* tha mfitaepolift 
woolleaa. My huainessy howewr, in Leedsi waA to aee 
men. I made the aoquauitaaBee of oae whose^ arfatoe; 
has been plaaed ita. their noble Townrhall by hi» grat^ 
fill tawBsm«n, — Edwasd Baine^, the fom^r o£ ''The 
Leed». M^Kurf." I need not say that he imnady 
aaeoAdeii m:j «zisrtiQiia>; for a iBaae lihesiai amdHom 
easnest maar did mah Eye^ to. easry on tibe esume of 
politital and aeeiai improvemaat whiah was theaa 
begioiuai^ I viffitedl the greali &fx fiictoci» af the 
Ifajadiialb. aiad the Gotta I saw the e!Loth.4aUL I 
leamli acunethiBg^ o£ the dbimstic maaflifactiue e£ the 
West Biding. I aafw doth ihstones^ and waa thsa 
esabkd to deserihe^ — n^ot the oaaohineEBy by iriuck 
wool k CQsreirted into doth with the gveatesi aavia^ 
ef tusee aad material, — hut the gseat diviauua q£ em- 
ployment in the proc^ of mamrfueturimg wad: mta 
doth;. I bnefly deacribed, in " The Si^ta a£ In- 
doatry,!' puUiahed in November, 1891,, all thevaciQjaai 
stages of labonr and skill which I had witneaaei^. 
'' Between the gsrowth e£ the fleeee of wool and the 
«Nnpletion ef a coait by a skilful tailor — ^who^ it is 
affirmed^, puts fiye-andi-tweiity thonaand sststdnea into 
it^ — what an in&iite diyiaioQ: of employment t what 
inreations ol science ! what exeickna oi ingesmxty ! 
what unwearied applieation t what painftil^ and too 
oftem TUBhealthy laboiuir 1 And yet^ if men are to be 
dbtbed well and cheaply, all. th^ maniifoliil prcMeaaea 

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Cb. IV.] 

aia not m ;. and the ixidmdis&l v^ry is some 
bnockes of the ensploy is Bot to be ooDi^aied miik the 
suffisnng that would enane if ckitb TOie not nmde a4 
all, or if it wem made at 9iie]]t a. cost that the most 
weakhj only oould a&xoi to veair xb."* But i» bvjf 
YiaA to thei«incipal seat of the woollait' innaMifaf^tme^ 
I ecNild obsenre how lefisdatk» was still aiiwoiiE; t» 
neutralize the efforts of seittnee- audi mg&u^ty fee 
fwaMiTig o4hess hesidss the lioh to wear a gvxii oaoL. 
For the piroleatioa. of AgiieiiltuTa^.the! Inypahmiaon oi 
ahe^ a weeli was sisbjtseted ta^ CslsIniixui dnisbfl^soBas^ 
aa maeh bj» theur vncertaiwty as: hf thsiat foeiitiw 
wm^. These wore not abalidiecl watA 1M2L. For 
the pcetectboa of MaMfcr?faHW% t W SxpostatiaBs of 
Sntiah wool haek bees pidubiAad awea and! 
the absolute prohibition existed waAiil WhemtiMs 
prohibition against the export of wool was removed, 
the Maaiufaeturer9 of the Wes* Riding: s«w what 
French ingenuity could do with the long-treasured 
combing wool of England. They did not sit down in 
despair ; but very soon produced stuffs that might 
compete with the most beautiful of the French. 
When I was at Leeds in 1828, this emulation was 
doing for the woollen manufacture what it was doing 
for the silk. Then, the wool of Australia was almost 
unknown. No one could have dreamt that from a 
Ciolonial empire, which few knew otherwise than as 
the Botany Bay of Convicts, would come a supply of 
wool, not only vast in quantity but of so silky a 
quality as to change the whole character of the finer 
fabrics. When South America had sent us the wool 
of the Alpaca, manufactories sprang up at Bradford 
upon a grander scale than even modem Leeds could 

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riyal in its gigantic flax-mills. No one could have 
believed, in 1828, that woollen rags, then chiefly 
thrown upon the dunghill to rot for manUre, could, 
by a judicious combination with wool, be made to 
produce useful articles of clothing which, if wool 
alone were used, would be beyond the means of the 
great mass of the working community. " Shoddy," 
the commercial name for woollen rags, has given to 
millions warm and cheap winter garments and light 
and pleasant summer ones. If legislators, in the 
desire to imitate the benevolence of their predecessors 
in preserving "the staple" of manufactures, should 
prohibit the use of "shoddy," we are told that one- 
third of the woollen mills in the kingdom would be 
closed, and distress brought upon the West Biding of 
Yorkshire as great as that produced in Lancashire 
from the want of cotton,* 

* See Mr. Godwin's Jury Beport on Class XXL of International 
Exhibition, 1862. 




It York, I accomplished very little of the 
work upon which I was intent. The com- 
mercial atmosphere was better adapted for 
the diflfusion of secular knowledge than 
the ecdesiasticaL I had received a hint from head- 
quarters to be cautious in my movements — "to be 
careful not to frighten people by the appearance of 
great ramifications of the Society, and so fill their 
heads with horrors of Corresponding Societies, Car* 
bonari, Tugendbimd, Jesuits, and other frightful 
images." So I had two days of rest and enjoyment. 
I saw the glorious Minster only a year before the 
middle aisle of the choir was destroyed by fire. I 
heard the grand old organ, which was destroyed in 
the same conflagration of 1829. I could climb upon 
the city walls, but I could not walk far upon them, 
for they were then in a ruinous state. I had a most 
interesting visit to ."the Retreat " — ^that one Lunatic 
Asylum in the whole kingdom where the most 
grievous of maladies was not rendered hopeless of 
cure by stripes and the dark cell. The Society of 
Friends, in this their noble experiijpient, gave an 
impulse to the labours of such true philanthropists 
as Dr. Conolly, the kind and enlightened physician 
who was working as one of our Committee in 1828. 
The Retreat at York was visited by me at the period 
when Parliament was discussing the details of a Bill 

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for the Care and Treatment of Insane Persons, which 
became law in that Session. 

I proceed on my journey, turning my face south- 
ward, and halt a little at Sheffield. My principal 
letter of introduction is to Mr. J. H. Abraham 
This gentleman, seven years before my visit to him, 
had sent to the Society of Arts a model of a mouth- 
gaaivi, to he used by dxy^^grinders and needle-pointexs. 
Tbe diy-grinders of Sheffieid were coiuriaantiy waAet 
the wiew of Mr. Ahtdbaiiu He w$m bundiBds 
suffering finon the ''^ gfmders' asfchnta," which 
ikiUy atedoad tkose wko had been legulatly em- 
fioj^ «t tbis wodc when Ihef had reached tbeir 
tmmisifSSisi or twentynieTOntik ymr, »nd entailed 
npom tliem«, ndsenUe exitffcenoe £nr« very few yeais 
loQget. SQie most aniple testanony was given that 
the inwntioii wasoompk^b^ «uooeB6fiiL The mouth- 
pifioe d&eti^y wested ibe particles ^t, wititout 
it, piodiBoed tiiis xMmstant enfering mod prematore 
decajL Mr. jMbtwham songkt no rewaid fer his 
ingenuity but the pbasusre of doing good. One and 
aU, dry-gEanders and needle-pointen3,iefo0ed -to adopt 
&e invention. They believed that tiiek high wages 
would be lowered, if the work were tendered less 
injuriona I ww the kind-heaited inventor, depressed 
by the disHqapointment of his desire to benefit his 
fellow-cfetttmes. fie profaaUy took a gloomy view 
of the possibility of lifting his humbler townsmen 
out of the dqytfas of their ignocanoe. He formed 
even a less sanguine estimate of the seal of the more 
influential in attempts to dispd this daxkness, when 
he said to me, "^I fear this is a fa^less -task in 
which you are engaged. You will have all sorts of 
prejudices to overcome. There is a general appro- 

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Ch. T.] 



heaaaxm here xd the adncatioa of the people. Yom 
mil form no C o m mi t t ee here, but you may hanre mj 
nans to do whaob yon plane with. Thei«iB a getnenl 
feelingldbaik jaahsLve dark oljeotfi ia view — ^that a 
desise to «ver£hrow 'Chradi and State is at the 
iKrttom." I went my way; though I ix>xLld scaioely 
believe that thore would be a want of (enlightenment 
aunoug^i^he waalthicir dasaefi in the town of JaoHSs 
Moiriijomery, Saniuel Bailey, aind fibeneaer Elliott. 
3fffx could I isidaJge anoh a. dreary belief of the 
sdogged jgnoEafice ^ i^effield woxkmen «s thus n^eo- 
tion df Hlb means of health and Jife by the diy- 
grinders anggesied, when .1 reoolleoiiBd that not 31 
year Jiad passed simse I iiad ieamt mmh in the 
flodiety «f a 8ell^*te«gfat engzaeer, who was once 
Jmmfafe wodcmaa in She£SekL In the Inangiiral 
Leafene of tiie Sheffield Jkthaneeam, which I ddihwed 
in 18&^ I thiBB denadfaed this vahsed irieiMi, ndiD 
ctiad ia 1827 : "Fix a few yeais I enjoyed the oon- 
weaatkm of a veiy eztfaoniinary anaiik — ridi in all 
frimtififf kaowJedge — ^inqniring in all snlgedB of 
mental fliilaBCipirf--4]aE»»iiied, not by high titleB bat 
by univeraal zespeat — ^who onoe woiked at the foige 
ia this vary towaa. That man— ^ways full of the 
most ingenious medianicfil contrivanoeB^ which he 
moie particularly applied, in ccmnection with his 
ii^iier aoieiiDe, to the great objects of wanning and 
ventiiaii]^ our dwellingB and our public buildingB — 
indented, when he was a wodbnan heie, little 
machines to facilitate his handicraft fadbour, that be 
might hove a greater shaze of leisure — not a higher 
amount of wages, but time to j^paro-^rfor the pui*- 
pose a more int^ise devotion to the atodies 
wbich eventually made him what iie was. That 

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man was one of your Hallamsliire worthies — Charles 
Sylvester." And yet, at that period, Mr. Abraham 
did not exaggerate the supineness of the payers of 
wages in the promotion of intelligence amongst the 
artisan class, nor the obstinacy of that class in re- 
fusing to accept the benefits which science offered 
them. Mr. M. D: Hill, in the September of 1828, 
visited Scotland for the purpose of seeing what 
progress was being made by our Society. From one 
of several interesting letters written by him during 
that journey I extract the following illustration of 
the di£Sculties of dealing with old habits and preju- 
dices : — " In general, workmen are averse to all 
innovations, and their indisposition to change their 
plans thwarts an enterprising employer more than 
can be readily imagined. I myself had a relation 
who was a West Indian planter, and who tried to 
ease the labour of his negroes by changing the 
baskets with which they removed soil (carrying 
them on their heads) for wheelbarrows. The poor 
wretches clamoured for their baskets, and when they 
found they must use the wheelbarrows, they abso- 
lutely refused to wheel them along, but carried them 
on their heads. It is a great thing to change this 
negative quantity of intellect for the positive power 
of originating improvements. And yet such is the 
infatuation of some masters, that the wish to educate 
the lower orders is by no means universal among the 
employers of labour — ^not even among those who 
have themselves risen from the ranks." 

I had delivered my credentials at Derby; had 
enjoyed the hospitality of the two eminent brothers, 
William and Joseph Strutt, and had arranged with 
them for a further consultation. I wanted a little 

Digitized by 

Ch. v.] 



relief from my engrossing occupation, and I started 
to spend a couple of days at Matlock and Dovedale. 
I had the company at Matlock of John Sylvester, 
the son of the remarkable self-taught engineer, who 
began life as a common smith, and so improved his 
few hours of leisure as to become a writer of some 
of the best scientific articles in " Rees's Cyclopedia." 
I enjoyed for some years the friendship of the 
younger man, who succeeded his father in his pro- 
fessional pursuits, and obtained as high a reputation. 
The scenery of Matlock has been so often described, 
and has now become so weU known by the agency of 
Railways, that I need not here linger. Parting with 
my companion, I hired a light carriage, and drove 
through a somewhat wild country to Dovedale. I 
well remember how astonished I was to witness a 
funeral procession amongst those hills — ^a long file of 
mourners on horseback, men and women, following a 
corpse to its last resting-place. On a bright evening 
of June I reached the prettiest of inns — ^the " Isaak 
Walton" — ^built by Mr. Watts Russell, the proprietor 
of the domain of Dovedale and the adjoining man- 
sion of Ham. The left bank of the Dove was free 
to all such wanderers as myself ; for there the privi- 
leges of ownership did not extend. The gates on 
the right bauk were locked. It mattered little to 
me that I could not pursue my walk in that solitary 
place, wandering as the river wandered " at its own 
sweet wilL" But I was indignant at the painted 
boards, meeting the eye at every turn, setting forth 
the legal punishment that awaited the trespasser. 
A month afterwards, my feelings welled out in a 
remonstrance against the purchased privileges of the 
rich man who had thus destroyed some of the poetry 
you II. H 



of tliifl exquisite scenery : — " Why have you profaned 
by your hateful proclamations this vale of peace^ 
where nature has heaped up the rocks and crags in 
the most solemn forms, as if to call the heart to 
worship 'in a temple not made by hands'? — ^why 
have you profaned this glorious retreat, shut out as 
it were from a world over which man has the petty 
mastery, to lift up the soul to the Eternal Spirit of 
all created things, by exhibiting the impress of his 
power in the unchangeable masses of gigantic stones,, 
that have stood upon this river^s brink since the hiUs 
were torn asunder by some terrific convulsion, and 
the sparkling stream first rushed through the mighty 
chasm ; — why have you profeuied this monument of 
the grand workings of the God of Nature, and de- 
formed a scene amidst which man ought only to 
move with reverence and peacefulness ? Why this 
unnecessary parade of the rights of property ? Take 
down your boards ; place them in the gardens and 
shrubberies of Ham as thick as you please, but allow 
us to lode up the bng vista of rocks and woods, and 
abandon our hearts to the tranquillizing influence of 
this most perfect solitude, without having a thought 
of the gamekeeper and the attorney ; let us hear the 
chorus of a thousand thrushes, pouring out the full 
note of harmony from the overflowings of their happi- 
ness, without recollecting that the world is full of 
beings in whom the spirit of enjoyment is dead, and 
who burrow their way amongst their riches, while 
the sun shines, and the breeze blows, in vain for 
them ;— let us believe, while the wild rose sends 
forth its most honied perfume through every nook of 
this wild and solemn valley, that the whole earth is 
not yet under the domiiiion of a false refinement. 

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Ch. v.] 



and that we may flee to the mouatains, and to the 
secluded rivers, with the intention to commune with 
our own hearts, and to be still, without the voice of 
the proud one scaring us from our vision of peace."* 
As I strolled the next day through the village of 
Ma^ leton, I thought of the two poetical anglers who 
had walked here in loving companionship. In that 
ancient inn surely Cotton and Walton had cooked a 
trout. Bid Cotton write those lines upon the sign of 
" The Gate " which proclaim the ancient alehouse as 
one that had afforded entertainment to others than 
Derbyshire hinds ? — 

This Gate hangs well. 

And hinders none ; 
Kefresh thyself, 

And travel on." 

I take the advice, and am again in Derby. 

The business of my mission had gone on smoothly 
during my brief absence. But the converts had been 
chiefly Unitarian Dissenters, of which body the 
Strutts were the acknowledged heads in Derby. I 
came back to their town at an exdting time. There 
was to be a public dinner to celebrate the Repeal of 
the Corporation and Test Acts. Lord John Russell's 
first great labour in the cause of religious liberty had 
become law on the 9th of May. Lord John Russell 
was the Vice-Chairman of our Useful Knowledge 
Society, and his name was, therefore, a ready pass- 
port for me to a cordial welcome, when I attended as 
a guest at the public dinner. It was a curious spec- 
tacle. Many of those present were Dissenting min- 

* London Magaidne,'' August, 1828. 

H 2 

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istera. Some had come from remote villages nestled 
in the hills — "mountains," as Cotton calls them. In 
their after-dinner oratory there was a rude strength, 
which indicated not only their zeal, but their inex- 
perience. I see now the lank form, the haggard face, 
of one young man, who raved as if the days of mar- 
tyrdom had only passed away during the previous 
fortnight, when " the necessity of receiving the 
Sacrament of the Lord's Supper as a qualification 
for certain offices and employments" had ceased. 
The youthful enthusiast who lives in my memory 
moved his audience, as the " Macbriar " of Scott 
moved the Solemn League and Covenant men in the 
days of real persecution. " The fun"— dare I call it 
fun ? — " grew fast and furious." I sat by the side of 
the Chairman, Mr. Higginson, the very clever minis- 
ter of Derby. He whispered to me that we had 
better make a move to go. " Some of these worthy 
men," he said, " are not used to public dinners ; I 
must keep them steady." So he announced that 
Mr. William Strutt would be glad to see all the com- 
pany to tea at his house. It was a real relief to have 
a quiet talk in his library with this sagacious and 
tolerant man — a great reader, a vigorous thinker, an 
encourager of all scientific talent, as his brother was 
a lover, and in some respects a patron of Art. A 
stroll in the beautiful gardens restored the orators of 
the Repeal dinner to their ordinary habit of dis- 
coursing upon matters sacred and secular. There 
was no "Arboretum" then to tempt us to wander 
on that summer evening in less secluded gardens. 
That noble addition to the attractions of Derby was 
the present of Joseph Strutt to his townsfolk. What 
a contrast to the spirit which partially shut up Dove- 

Ch. v.] 



dale are the words of this descendant of Jedediah 
Strutt, — the partner with Arkwright in the " Derby- 
rib " stocking manufacture, — spoken in 1840 at the 
opening of the grounds which he had dedicated to 
public use. He might have said, — 

I give them you. 
And to your heirs for ever ; common pleasures, 
To walk abroad, and recreate yourselves." 

But poetry was unnecessary to enhance the value of 
the gift ; and so he took occasion to utter words of 
wisdom which have not been without their use, in 
producing that better spirit in which the wealthy 
and the great have cast off the exclusiveness of a past 
generation: — ^''It has often been made a reproach to 
our country that, in England, collections of works of 
art, and exhibitions for instruction and amusement, 
cannot, without danger of injury, be thrown open to 
the public. If any ground for such a reproach still 
remains, I am convinced that it can be removed 
only by greater liberality in admitting the people to 
such establishments; by thus teaching them that 
they are themselves the parties most deeply in- 
terested in their preservation, and that it must be 
the interest of the public to protect that which is 
intended for the public advantage. If we wish to 
obtain the affections of others, we must manifest 
kindness and regard towards them ; if we seek to 
wean them from debasing pursuits and brutalizing 
pleasures, we can only hope to do so by opening to 
them new sources of rational enjoyment." 

Nottingham had for me some matters of more im- 
mediate interest than the gratification of antiquarian 

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curiosity. I looked, of course, rapidly at the spot 
where Charles first opened 

The purple testftment of bleeding war ; " 

which Colonel Hutchinson had defended, his heroic 
wife ever at his side. The modem Castle was in 
1828 a fit residence for a great nobla In 1830 it 
was a blackened ruin, — b, monument of blind fury 
and popular ignorance at a season of political 
excitement. I wanted to learn something of the ex- 
isting condition of the working popula4}ion. Luddi^ 
had been quelled. There was no longer the terror 
of armed bands breaking into factories and destroying 
the lace*machines, which were, perhaps, the most 
beautiful of inventions for superseding manual labour. 
The patent of 1809, which could never be- worked 
profitably by the inventor in the face of tlie com- 
binations of workmen and the jealousy of manufac- 
turers, expired in 1823 ; and then capitalists and 
mechanics became wild with the desire to possess some 
interest in the wondrous money-making power which 
appeared to belong to the bobbin-net machines. 
Artisans assisted as co-operators in the working of a 
lace-frame. Sharehold^s of all trades and profes- 
sions became speculators in the lace-manufacture. 
The competition for the possession of a machine was 
so great that any price imder a tiiiousand pounds was 
considered moderate. The mania was subsiding 
when I was at Nottingham. I saw this wondrous 
machine in an imperfect state compared with its 
present capabihties ; and I could easily understand 
how the poor lace-makers of Buckinghamshire, whose 
moving bobbins I had often noticed with admiration. 


would be drivea out by a machine which, worked by 
one person, could produce many thousand meshes in 
A minute. Bat it would then have been difficult to 
believe, as we leam upon the authority of Mr. William 
Telkin, — a Nottingham manufacturer, whose intelli- 
gence is as remarkable as his energetic benevolence, 
— ^that the annual returns of the machine-made lace- 
trade would have reached five millions sterling in 
1862. The active philanthropy of this gentleman 
has been chiefly displayed in his labours to alleviate 
the condition of the stockingers of the hosiery district ; 
and it is consolatory to leam, that " the worn and 
•anxious countenances, by which these men during the 
fiiBt half of the century were easily distinguishable, 
are only seen among the relics of the past generation 
of stocking-makers." * The entire system of remu- 
neration for labour, under which these stockingers 
lived, was a complicated system of slavery. They 
worked in their own miserable homes at a stocking- 
frame, for which they paid rent weekly. That rent 
was a fixed charge, levied by the manufacturer who 
gave out the yam to the weaver. There were specu- 
lators in frames, who let them out also—" inde- 
pendent" frames, as they were called. If the hosiery 
trade were slack, those who hii'ed the frames upon 
which the manufacturer obtained a profit from the 
rent could obtain no work. Still less could they 
obtain employ if, rare occurrence, they possessed 
frames of their own, like the hand-loom weavers of 
Yorkshire. In addition to ail this there was the 
ever present tyranny and extortion of a " middle- 
man." No wonder that there were " worn and 

* Jurors' Beportfi of Intematioiial Exhibition, 1802. 

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anxious countenances " at Nottingham when I visited 
that fine town. No wonder that I made little pro- 
gress in my task of interesting masters and workmen 
in the Diffusion of Knowledge. 

I was invited to Birmingham by a gentleman^ 
whose friendship I am happy to have retained. 
Mr. Joseph Parkes had been apprised by Mr. 
Brougham that I was about to visit his town. He 
had rendered valuable assistance to the Law Re- 
former in the preparation of his speech of the 7th 
February, and his name was several times quoted in 
that speech. Mr. Parkes had written to me, " I 
shall be most glad to see you at my house for bed, 
board, and entertainment. I will also give you a 
private sitting-room in which to concert matters, and 
introduce you to those disciples most likely to aid us 
here." I could not refuse such an invitation. Yet 
I had a most respected friend in Thomas Wright 
Hill, the father of my friend Matthew Davenport ; 
the founder of that remarkable innovation upon the 
old routine of Middle-class Schools, which was called 
" The Hazelwood System." That school near Bir- 
mingham was still conducted by the elder Hill, 
although his distinguished son, Bowland, with his 
brothers Edwin and Arthur, had established a school 
upon the same system at Bruce Castle, Tottenham. 
I had seen the workings of that system once before 
at Hazelwood, after I had published, in 1824, the 
volume on " Public Education," which was attributed 
to the elder brother, who was then practising at the 
bar with great success. Mr. Parkes's hospitable offer 
placed me more in the heart of the business which I 
had to conduct. I need not say that my sojourn 
with him was agreeable ; for to his own qualities of 

Ch. v.] 



improving companionship were added those of his 
amiable wife, a grand-daughter of Dr. Priestley. 
Mr. Parkes was at that time, as he long continued to 
be, an ardent politician. The Liberals of Birmingham 
were smarting under the issue of the East Retford 
Disfranchisement Bill of the 21st April, in which it 
was proposed that the franchise should be transferred 
to Birmingham, or some oth^r large town. Sir 
James Macintosh, on that debate, had said, " I have 
nothing to do with the question as it respects Bir- 
mingham, except (comparing it with the section of a 
county to which it is proposed to transfer the fran- 
chise) to ask, whether the inhabitants of Birming- 
ham, an unrepresented community, a population of 
one hundred and twenty thousand, abounding with 
men of property, character, and intelligence ; or the 
comparatively small number of fifteen hundred free- 
holders of Nottinghamshire, — all of whom already 
possess the right of voting for Members of Parlia- 
ment, should be selected as the successor of the 
delinquent (Corporation of Retford." The sting of 
the great political mistake of the Tories remained, 
and Birmingham had become radical to an extent 
which two years later had grown alarming. 1 had 
nothing to do with political animosities ; but it was 
an unpropitious time for preaching the DiflFusion of 
Knowledge without regard to political objects. An 
influential Local Association was, however, formed, 
which rendered good service to our objects. 

As a matter of course, 1 saw some of the manu- 
facturing processes of Birmingham — its Pins, its 
Buttons, and its Muskets. This experience was 
of use to me when I had to write " The Results 
of Machinery." Some of the recent marvels of 

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Birmingham had not then been called into existence 
by the discoveries of Science. There was no manu- 
facUxre of Electro-plate. The progress of education 
had not abolished the Quill-pen, and produced the 
extensive organization of the manufacture of the 
Steel-pen. The Birmingham School of Arts had 
taken the initiative of Art cultivation, with inference 
to works of Industry, long before the Government 
Schools of Design were established. It was founded 
in 1821. There was a Mechanics' InstituAe, not 
very flourishing. The chief public buildings were 
ei'eoted after my visit — the Town-Hall, and the King 
Edward's Grammar School I spent nearly a week 
with my hospitable friends, and had seen many 
things in Birmingham that were more worth seeing 
than what Burke saw when he called the busy town 
of his time, " The Toy-shop of Europe." 

I returned to London with some valuable 'addrtions 
to my store of knowledge, and considerable enlarge- 
ment of mind from my whole tour. As a partial 
acquaintance with London had removed many of the 
pr^udices of my early provincial life, so a contem- 
plation of other great towns had taught me that the 
en^-gy, the intelligence, the wealth erf England were 
not exclusively to be sought in the capital Ctf the 
commercial aspects of London I had really se^ very 
little. Her docks, her manufactories, wea^ for the 
most part unknown to me. Of its vast extmt I 
could only form a vague notion. In that summer 
the stranger in the metropolis, as well as its constant 
inhabitants, might acquire some precise ideas of the 
great arteries and minute veins, the streets and 
alleys, through which the vast flood of human life 
was daily circulating. The Colosseum in the Regent's 

Ch. v.] 



Park was opened to private visitors, altho^ugli its 
Paaoa^Euua of London was not quite complete. The 
Ball and Cross of St. Paid's having been under repair 
in the previous year, Mr. Homer, a meritorious artist^ 
had undertaken to make a series of panoramic 
sketches from that giddy height. He invariably 
commenced his labours immediately after sunrise^ 
before the lighting of the innumerable fires, which 
pour out their dark and sullen clouds during the 
day, and spread a mantle over this wide congregation 
of the dwellings of meu, which only midnight can 
remova Did the winds pipe ever so loud, and rock 
him to and fro in his wicker-basket, tiiere he sat in 
lordly security, intently deUneafcing, what few have 
seen — the whole of the s[dendid city — its palaces and 
its hovels, its churches and its prisons — from one 
extremity to the other, spread like a map at his feet. 
Gradually the signs of life would be audible and 
visible from his solitary elevation. The one faiot cry 
of the busy chapman swelling into a chorus of ardent 
competitors for public patronage — ^the distant roU of 
the solitary wain, echoed, minute after minute, by 
the aooumulation of the sume sound, till aU indivi- 
dual noise was lost in the general din — the first 
distant smoke rising like a spiral cokrnm into the 
skies, till column after colxmm sent up their tribute 
to the apj»-oaching gloom, and the one dense cloud 
of London was at last formed, and the labours of ihe 
painter were at an end ; — ^these were the daily objects 
of him who, before the rook went forth fox his 
morning flight, was gazing upon the most extensive 
and certainly the most wonderful city of the worid, 
from the highest pinnacle of a temple which has only 
one rival for majesty and beauty. Jhe situation 



was altogether a solemn and an inspiriting one ; — 
and might well suggest and prolong that enthusiasm 
which was necessary to the due performance of the 
extraordinary task which the painter had undertaken. 

Upon the outer circle of the Colosseum was spread 
Mr. Homer's panoramic view. I stand on an eleva- 
tion which corresponds in size and situation with the 
external gallery which is round the top of the dome 
of St Paul's. 1 am looking down Ludgate Hill. 
How the streets are filled with the toil and turmoil 
of commerce! Turn to the right, the struggle is 
there going forward ; turn to the left, it is there also. 
I look from the west to the east, and let the eye 
range along the dark and narrow streets that crowd 
the large space from Cheapside to the Thames — all 
are labouring to fill their warehouses with the 
choicest products of the earth, or to send our fabrics 
to the most distant abode of civilized or uncivilized 
man. I look beyond, at the river crowded with 
vessels — ^the docks, where the masts show like a 
forest : and when I have called to mind the riches 
which are here congregated — ^the incessant toil for 
the support of individual respectability and luxury — 
the struggles with false pride — ^the desperate energy 
of commercial adventure — ^the spirit of gambling 
which brings down the proud to sudden poverty, and 
raises the obscure to more dangerous riches — ^and 
above all, amidst this accumulation of wealth, when 
I consider how many are naked, and starving, and 
utterly forsaken of men, I may, perchance think 
that better social arrangements might exist, which 
would leave mankind more free to cultivate the 
higher attributes of their nature than the desire of 
gain ; and, without destroying the ordinary excite- 

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Ch. v.] 



ments to emulation, relieve society of some of its 
fiightfiil inequalities. 

At this period I was intimate with Eobert Owen. 
I could not exactly assent to his opinion that in a 
year or two grass would be growing in Fleet Street 
and Cheapside, and the happier human race would 
be living in parallelograms upon co-operative prin- 
ciples. I look back now upon this benevolent 
visionary with deep respect, for he was no pretender 
to the character of Keformer. He was altogether 
an unselfish man. He had no mercenary views. 
He spent a large fortune upon his schemes. He made 
a great mistake at his outset in thinking that his 
principles of mundane happiness could not be ac- 
complished except by the destruction of religious 
belie£ But how successfully have many practical 
plans of Co-operation, for Consumption and for 
Production, been accomplished in later days 1 How 
many noble aspirations have been promulgated under 
the influence of what is called Christian Socialism ! 

During my absence from home my co-editor, Barry 
St. Leger, had exclusively attended to the conduct 
of the "London Magazine." Our undertaking pro- 
mised no great pecuniary advantage ; for several 
years of bad management had reduced that Miscel- 
lany to a much lower level than that of the brilliant 
days of Charles Lamb, and Hazlitt, and Hood, and 
De Quincey. But it furnished us very agreeable 
employment from the spring of 1828 till the summer 
of 1829. My occupations, in connexion with the 
Useful Knowledge Society, had then become too 
engrossing and too important to allow of a continu- 
ance on my part of those pleasant excursions into 
the field of light periodical literature. What was a 

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more serious impediment, the health of my friend 
and associate had begun to fiail. When I first 
became acquainted with St. Leger in May, 1824, I 
published for him one of the most chaaming volumes 
of fiction that had its little hour of fame, and was 
then forgotten. If any of my readers should find on 
a book<8tall " Some accounts of the Life of the late 
Gilbert Eaiie, Esq., written by himself," let him 
cheerfully bestow a shilling upon the purchase, and 
read it as a relief from the extravagant incidents and 
fiashy style of many of the later ra^je of novelists. 
The book was ready for publication, waiting only for 
the Preface. A physician came to nuB to say that 
Mr. St. Leger was seriously ill ; that mental exertion 
was impossible ; and that he had intimated a wish 
that I would write the Fre&ce. I did so— not in my 
own name, but in that, of the imagimory editor of 
ihis Fragment of Autobiography. My friend was 
sent out of town, and recovered after an absenee of 
some months. But the malady was only arrested 
for a time. 

I scarcely know how to speak in terms that should 
not be eonsijdered extravagant of my affectionate 
regard for this interesting young nzan. I have 
already alluded to our intercourse at the time of 
the " Quarterly Magazme " (Vol. L, p. 329). The 
^' London Magazine " united us still more firmly in 
the closest friendship. Of a good family aod of high 
connexions, he moved, when it so pleased him, in 
fBHshionable society ; but his enjoyments were in the 
eompanionship of a few lawyers and men of letters 
in his Chambers. He was amongst the most welcome 
of the old fa.mi1iar fsbces " who wcmld come uncere- 
monioualy to dine or to drink tea with my jbmily. He 

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Ch. v.] 



wafi fond of children ; and my little girls clung around 
him to hear his merry anecdotes of Irish humour, or 
his touching stories of English poverty, or his 
picturesque relation of strange scenes that he had 
witnessed in India. For in India he had filled a high 
civil office at a very early age. About this part of 
his life there is some mystery ; and there are passages 
in " Gilbert Earle " which are evidently not absolute 
fiction. In the latter part of 1829, the disease of 
the brain, which had incapacitated him for hard 
continuous work in letters or in law, returned. 
After a little while his case appeared hopeless. I 
have before me a letter of De Quincey's, dated 
February 19, 1830, in which he says, "Pray tell me 
something more circumstantial about poor St Leger. 
As a man of talents, and a man of most amiable 
disposition, I always recollect him with great interest ; 
and from your last letter I collected that some 
deplorable calamity had befallen him, of the nature 
of apoplexy or paralysis — ^but not exactly which, or 
when, or under what prospect of restoration." Before 
this letter arrived I had followed him to his grave. 
He was to have been the godfather of my only son. 

St. Leger left unfinished " Selections from the Old 
Chroniclers," which posthumous work was published 
by Mr. Colbum. There are historical dissertations 
prefixed to some of the extracts, which are really 
valuable, exhibiting qualities which would have 
carried him onward to a richer field of literature than 
he had previously attempted to cultivate. 

In the summer of 1828, so far were the Londoners 
from the belief that grass would be growing in their 
streets, that they were occupied with many schemes 
for easier and quicker communication between their 

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great city and its suburbs. The experiments which 
had been making for the improvement of the loco- 
motive steam-engine upon railways — ^which Telford 
described before a Committee of the House of Com- 
mons as indicating the possibility of accomplishing 
fifteen or even twenty miles an hour — ^had set inven- 
tion to work to produce a steam-carriage for common 
roads. I went to see such a machine at the manu- 
factory of Messrs. Bramah. This notion was ridiculed 
at a somewhat eai'lier epoch, when the visions of 
science were the favourite objects of literary satire. 
A very clever novel of this character was read by me 
in my boyish hours. It was called Flim Flams, and 
was attributed to the elder D'IsraelL From a manu- 
script letter of Miss Cartwright, the daughter of the 
famous inventor of the Power Loom, I transcribe the 
following anecdote: "There is in D'Israeli's Flim 
Flams, a curious and laughable description of an in- 
ventor coming down to see the hero of the book, in 
a carriage worked by steam, and arriving in such a 
state of perspiration, that he is represented as smoking 
like a boiled potato. I remember that my father 
was exceedingly amused with this description, which 
he told me originated in a conversation he had with 
D'Israeli on the subject of steam-carriages, and which, 
at the time, the latter good-humouredly quizzed, and 
I think threatened to introduce him and his carriage 
into print." 

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'-^ |N my return to London at the end of 
June, 1828, the meetings of the Usefal 

Knowledge Society were approaching 
their termination for the season. Parlia- 
ment was prorogued. The members of our committee 
had mostly left town; lawyers were on circuit; 
members of Parliament were looking after their local 
interests. But I had to keep up a tolerably active 
correspondence with some who took an especial 
interest in the works upon which I was occupied — 
with none more unremittingly than Mi*. Brougham. 
Whether contending in friendly rivahy for the 
leadership of the Northern Circuit with Mr. Pollock^ 
or enjoying the delicious quiet of his family home in 
Westmoreland, his mind was ever occupied with 
thoughts of the society which he had founded, and 
which was daily growing more important Mr. Hill 
writes to me from Ambleside on the 30th of August : 
— " I came here with Mr.[Brougham, from Lancaster^, 
to-day. Scenery glorious of course. But I fear we 
talked more about division of knowledge than any- 
thing else. Mr. B. is delighted with all you have 
done." It was very pleasant to know that my 
preparations for the " Library of Entertaining Know- 
ledge" were approved. I was chiefly engaged in 
writing "The Menageries," which was a sufficient 
task for my faculties ; for I had to learn a good deal 
VOL. n. I 

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of the subjects upon which I was to write. But 
Mr. Brougham, estimating the powers of other men 
by his own, would have had me engage in some 
by-work for both of the series — ^the Useful and the 
Entertaining. I had ioitimated a desire to write a 
Life of Alfred. With his characteristic readiness, 
while expressing his gratification, he suggests to 
me not to lose sight of one interesting -part of Hie 
subject — '"the aacient form of our govemmeflDd>^bere 
ai^ msiSLj errors afloat in this matter." Se then 
states that Mr. Allen, of Holland House, hsm, more 
than all lawyers and hifitorians, studied it deeply, 
and he sends me a list of Mr. Allen's articles in the 
"Edinburgh Review," on topes connected with this 
question. I had also given to Mr. Bsoughaai the 
introductory portion of a life . of Las Oasas^a 
subject which had deeply interested me, as a very 
young man, when I had read in Osofffi isingular 
volume, "Love and Madness," that, "all thmgs con- 
sidered, Bartholomew Las Casas was pejihaps the 
greatest man that ever existed.*' Mr. Brougham 
writes — " I have lost sight of Las Casas. How near 
making a volume is it for the L. E. K. < If 0310*. for 
that, there must be at least enough for a treatise in 
the Jj. XJ. K." How <?ould I let the grass grow under 
my feet with such an inciter to activity ? 

la looking back ^t some correspondence of Sep- 
tember, 1828, I am enabled to form m. accurate 
conception of the technical diffioulties of producing 
a cheap book with exceBent wood-cuts. I had 
arranged to have my " Menageries " illustrated with 
representationfl of animals drawn from the life. I 
was fortunate in seeming the assistance of sev^^al 
rising young men, who did not disdain what seaoae 

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painters might have deemed ignoble employment. 
Two of these are now Boyal Academicians. There 
were not many wood-engravers then in London ; and 
this art was almost invariably applied to the pro- 
duction of expensive books, printed in the finest 
style. The legitimate purpose of wood-engraving 
was not then attained. It is essentially that branch 
of the art of design which is associated with cheap 
and rapid printing. In the costly books of the period 
a single woodcut introduced into a sheet to be 
worked off with the types, enhanced the cost of 
manual labour in a proportion which would now 
seem incredible. In engraving the wood-cuts for the 
"Menageries," some attention of the artist was 
necessary to give his shadows the requisite force, 
and his lights the desired clearness, so as to meet 
the uniform application of the ink, and the cyhn- 
<lrical pressure, in the printing-^machine process. 
It was long before this excellmce could be practi- 
cally attained. Without this explanation it would 
appear ludicrous that Mr. Hill should write to me 
from Mr. Brougham's house, — ^"Everybody here is 
in raptures with the proofis of the wood-cats ; but 
we have mif^vings about the machine." A sheet 
of my book was to be set up with the engravings 
in their due place, and a hundred or two were to 
be printed off by the rapid operation. ^'Mr. Loch 
is here," writes Mr. HilL " We have held a com- 
mittee. Efe win be in London in a fortnight, quite 
at leisure, and anxious to attend to our affairs. He 
has promised to assist at Qowes's. I hope you will 
succeed in assembling everybody." "Everybody" 
not only meant the patentee of the machine, the 
wood-engraver, the stationer, the ink-maker, and 

I 2 

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the ingenious overseer of the printing office, but as 
many of the committee as I could get together. 
Imagine a learned society thus employed ! Imagine 
a hard-worked editor thus exhorted to interference 
with a printer's proper duty ! Yet such was a 
part of my editorial duty at a time when the great 
revolution in the production of books to be ac- 
complished by the printing machine, was almost 
as imperfectly realised as when Caxton first as- 
tonished England by the miracles of the printing 
press. We succeeded in partially overcoming the 
difficulties of making an illustrated volume not 
despicable as a work of art, and yet cheap — some- 
thing very different from the lesson books with 
blotches called pictures, that puzzled the school-boy 
mind half a century ago, to distinguish what some 
daub was meant to delineate ; " It is backed like a 
weaseFs," says Brown — "or, like a whale," says 
Jones — " Very like a whale," concludes Eobinson. 

At this time my duties in connection with the 
" Library of Entertaining Knowledge " were simply 
those of author and editor. I had retained a pro- 
prietary interest in the Almanac and Companion, 
although it was published for two years by Messrs. 
Baldwin. But the new series was a large under- 
taking, from the risk of which I shrank. Again, 
Mr. Murray, as a publisher, was to have been asso- 
ciated with my labours. In November, 1828, Mr. 
Tooke, the treasurer of the society, informed me 
that Mr. Murray desired that I should send him 
"the form of a reduced advertisement, descriptive 
only of the intended volume." The " Menageries " 
was then sufficiently advanced for me to comply. 
Before the volume was ready for publication the 

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Ch. VI.] 



proprietor of the "Quarterly Review*' took some 
alaxm. The Society and he parted company, but 
upon very friendly tenns. I was urged to take " at 
the flood " this opportunity of the " tide in the affairs 
of man." I found a capitalist ready to bear his part 
in my new venture. I made terms with the Society, 
which secured to them a rent upon the copies sold 
of the " Library of Entertaining Knowledge." I was 
again a publisher in Pall Mall East, before Mid- 
summer, 1829, when the first volume of the " Me- 
nageries " was published. At the same period Mr. 
Murray issued the first volume of his " Family 

The sub-committees of the Society are once 
more in active work when the long vacation had 
come to an end. The monthly meetings now regu- 
larly take place. At these periodical gatherings 
there is a dinner at five o'clock — ^a plain English 
dinner, at a moderate fixed charge, to which 
each present contributes. There is a subscription 
for wine. On these occasions the organisation 
of the Society is fully developed. The sub- 
committees report their proceedings ; the general 
committee confirm them. Questions are asked; 
suggestions are made. The chairman conducts the 
proceedings with the least possible parade of words. 
The members express their opinions in the same 
quiet conversational tone. I never heard but one 
oration in that assembly of which so many eloquent 
statesmen and lawyers formed a part That display 
came from a president of the Boyal Academy, whose 
rhetoric is as forgotten a thing as his "Rhymes 
on Art.'' Let me look back upon those pleasant 
meetings, at which I had generally the happiness to 

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be preseat during more than fifteen years. Let me^ 
without ^confining myself to a particular season 
of my early yeare in. connection with the Society^ 
look round that social i^le, to cidl up the shadows 
of some whose reputaticHis only survive, and to 
renew, as it were, the Mendships which I have still 
the happiness of possessing. 

The dinner is over in an hour. There has been 
pleasant gossip and occaoLonal fun. A few cordial 
greetings have passed in the old form of the wine- 
pledge, which we of & past generation regret to- 
find almost obsolete. The cloth is cleared. Mr. 
Coates, the secretary, moves to the side of the chair- 
man, and there axe then two hours of solid bu^ness. 
Subjects of science, of art, of literature, having to be 
discussed, the talk is sure to be improving, and occa- 
sionally amusing. The chair is generally filled by Mr.. 
Brougham, and, in his rare absence, more frequently 
by the treasurer, Mr. William Tooke, than by Lord 
John. Russell, the vice-chairman. Other members,, 
however, are occasionally called to take the chain 
Mr, Tooke was one of the founders of the Society, 
and was for some years an active member. He was 
somewhat ambitious of literary distinction, priding 
himself upon being one of " the family of Tooke," 
his father having- been known as the author of 
some valuable works on Russia ; his brother Thomas 
being the eminent political economist, the historian 
of "Prices." Our treasurer had somewhat harsh 
treatment from the critics as the biographer of 
ChurchilL I always regarded him as a kind-hearted 
man of moderate abilities — somewhat fussy, not 
altogether disinclined to a job, and always disposed 
fy> be patronizing. 

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Where shall I begin with those who4i<i B^t fill the 
offices of the Society amongst the sixty members of 
its- committee? I cannot classify them according to 
their piofessional pursuits^ for in this gathering, 
state«QQien> lawyers^ physicians, professors, not only 
dabbed their technical knowledge, but their various 
acquii^^tft in science, in history, in art, in ancient 
scholaandiip, in modem literature. I must take 
th& individuals somewhat at random, as they crowd 
upon my memoty in connection with my own 

James MilL I see the historian of British India, 
dtting near Mr. Brougham, listening to his opinions 
with marked attention. It always appeared to me 
a signal tribute to the intellectual eminence of the 
great orator, that, the writer who, of all others, aimed 
most at terseness and perspicuity, should exhibit 
such deference t6 one whose reputation was built 
upon broader foundations than logical profundity 
or metaphysical subtlety. Yet so it was. Their 
minds were not certainly cast in the same mould ; 
yet there must have been deep sympathies between 
them— as is perhaps often the case when two men of 
appar^tly opposite temperaments, and pursuing 
very different paths to eminence, are brought into 
friendly contact for a common object Mr. Mill was 
too soon removed from us. To me he rendered 
valuable aid in the early numbers of the "Com- 
panion to the Almanac." 

Henry Hallam was one of the original promoters 
of the Society, of which, during many years, he was 
an. active member. That the historian of the 
" Middle Ages," was an authority in the committee 
cannot be doubted. He was a sedulous attendant 


upon sub-committees. He read proofe diligently. 
In his general manner rather cold and dry, he would 
occasionally deliver an energetic opinion, pregnant 
with good sense and refined taste. I used at first to 
feel some shrinking from his critical faculty, but no 
one could be more tolerant or encouraging ; and if he 
made objections it was generally without harshness. 
He was in the full possession of his high faculties 
when I first had the opportunity of benefiting, in a 
small degree, by the quiet exhibition of his varied 
acquirements. The great sorrow of his life had not 
then chilled his energy. He lived to recover, out- 
wardly, the loss which gave occasion to the noblest 
elegiac poetry in our language. 

I turn to a man eminent in a pursuit not less 
useful than that of the historian — ^to Francis 
Beaufort, the hydi-ographer to the Admiralty, under 
whose especial superintendence the Atlas of the 
Society attained perfection never before realised in 
this country. Hib design of producing the most 
trustworthy maps at the cheapest rate, would have 
conferred an honourable distinction upon this 
Association, if it had accomplished nothing else. But 
Captain Beaufort (afterwards Admiral Sir Francis) 
did not confine himself to the duties of this great 
undertaking. I could alwajrs rely upon his sound 
judgment in discussing any project that* I offered, 
or in the correction of proofs. No member of the 
committee wrote purer English. Of his unremitting 
kindness I had ample experience. The frankness, 
almost bluntness, of the sailor was never offensive, 
for it had the true ring of the sterling metal of an 
honest mind, and the unvarnished courtesy of a gen- 
tleman. Shall I place by the side of this worthy plain 

cai. VI.] 



dealer and plain speaker one of whom it has been 
said he often tried to make himself disagreeable, but 
never succeeded ? There was no man with whom I less 
perfectly sympathized when I first joined the Society 
than Henry Bellenden Ker ; gradually I learnt to 
imderstand him. I have the happiness still to enjoy 
an intimacy that has endured since those early days 
of our intercourse — ^proof against banter on one side, 
and pettishness on the other. He was the most 
fertile in projects of any member of the committee. 
Apart from the Society, he had ever some new scheme 
to suggest to me as a publishing enterprise. His 
plans were not always practicable ; but they always 
indicated the fertility of his mind, and the refine- 
ment of his taste. He did me incalculable good in 
his rough-riding when I was learning my paces in 
this intellectual manage. It was like the discipline 
which a young barrister receives on his first circuit. 
Not to wince under a joke ; to see the kind heart 
and the earnest good will, ill-concealed by the levity 
of tongue ; to find indifference growing into cordiality, 
and then ripening into friendship— this was my 
experience of a man whose ready talent, whose social 
aptitude, rarely failed to secure the friendship of the 
young and of the aged — one who was a warm 
politician without the bitterness of a partisan ; whose 
companionable qualities gave pleasure to the de- 
clining vigour of Lyndhurst, and who continues, as 
he had begun, to be the cherished friend of 

In the present instance, as in others that will con- 
stantly occur, I find it exceedingly difficult to speak 
with the same freedom of the living as of the dead. 
Yet, looking back for more than a generation upon 

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the eminent persons with vrhom I had beeome 
acquainted^ th^ all assume with me an aspect 
approaching to the historical I mn over the lii^ of 
the committee prefixed to the " British Almanae" for 
1830. Of forty-five members^ whose essential 
services in the difiusion of knowledge live in my 
remembrance, twenty-five are gone where " all 
hidden things shall be made mani&sf Yet to speak 
impartially, I must not pass over those who remain 
with us, believing that the "mi nisi verum'* is a^ 
better principle to act upon either for the living ot 
the dead than the " ndl rdsi bonum** 

I have already, several times^ mentioned Matthew 
Davenport Hjll as a member of the committee ; and 
it is therefbie unnecessary that I should here dwell 
upon the eneigy oi his character as a diffuser of 
knowledge. Efe was one of the earliest members of 
the Sooietj/c His biother Rowland was elected when 
it was fully in action*. Of modest demeanour ; 
courteous bist ind^pend^t ; expressing his opinions 
with a prudent hievity,^— &w could have given him 
credit for that unwearied industiy in following out 
all the ramifications of a complicated question for 
that power of mars^xalling all tlie possible details of a^ 
great theory which in practice resolved itself into the 
most complete organisation. The inventor of the 
Fenny Eostage made no eager rush to ti)e display of 
an impeifoct project. He felt every step of his way, 
and when he had ceased to have any doubt of the 
certainty of his convictions, he put them forth with 
the confidence of genius, and was ready to do battle 
for i^em with the courage which is the best pledge 
of victory. The young schoolmaster of Hazelwood 
became one of the greatest of public benefactora 


Amongst the founders of the society, Dr. Boget 
"wsa, from liis aocepted high leputation, the moff^ 
eminent of its. men of science. He wrote its trestiseK 
on Electricity and on Magnetion. He was a diligent 
attendant on its committees ; a vigilasit corrector of 
its prooiigi. Of most winning manneiSy he was ba 
beloyed as he was selected. I met him in 1863> at 
an ei^ning party, and had much talk with him abont 
our old intercouise. Full of animationj^-^witk 
imdimned intelligence — ^his age was ''as a Insty 
winter, frosty but kindly.** In his beaming faee 
there could scarcely be found the traces of tliat hard 
work — made up of professional practice, of scientific 
writing, of secreta^ship of the Boyal Society, of 
lecturer at the Boyal Institution, — ^which he had 
gone through since he graduated ixt medicine at 
Edinbui]^^ in. 1798. Upon all questions of Physic 
ology,. Peter Mark Roget and. Charles Bell are the. 
great authorities in the Usefol E2iowle<^e Soeieiy. 
No higher service could have been>rend^d to the 
association in its early stages than Mr. Bell's con*- 
tribution to its treatises. His " Animal Mechanics 
is a model of popular writing upon subjects which 
demand high* scientific knowledge. This charming 
production was published in 1828. At that time 
there was another member of the medical profession 
—one, however, unconnected with our Society — who 
also contributed most efifectually to disperse the 
belief that science could only be taught in the use of 
technieal language ; — that the uninitiated in the 
technicalities had better not attempt to comprehend 
the mysteries of that temple where there was scant 
room for the worship of the multitude. Dr. Neil 
Amott, in 1827, published the first portion of his 

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"Elements of Physics; or Natural Philosophy, 
General and Medical, explained in plain or non- 
technical language." Never was book more popular; 
never was the completion of any undertaking more 
anxiously looked for. The fii*st volume of the " Sixth 
and Completed Edition" reaches me while I write this 
chapter. It is a presentation copy from one who for 
five-and-thirty years has won the love and gratitude 
of me and mine, as the wise physician and the hearty 
friend. I could not forego this digression from the 
matters more immediately before me. 

The Useful Knowledge committees, as I have 
looked upon these monthly assemblages, present the 
aspect of something higher than toleration — a 
cordial union of men of very different persuasions in 
religion, who have met upon a common platform for 
the advancement of knowledge, to which religion can 
never be opposed. Let me group three represen- 
tatives of opinions that appear as far removed as 
possible from amalgamation. Dr. Maltby, a great 
classical scholar, the preacher at Lincoln's Inn, the 
future bishop, first of Chichester, and then of 
Durham, is a dignified representative of the Church 
of England. He is zealous for the welfare of the 
Useful Knowledge Society, of which he was one of 
the earliest members. He will do its work assi- 
duously and carefully. He will not insist upon 
religious topicslbeing thrust in amongst secular. He 
will not stickle for the due honour of the Established 
Church. How can he do either? By his side, it 
may be, sits Mr. Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, the wealthy 
Jew, whose ambition, as that of the Rothschilds and 
of other men of large property and unimpeachable 
loyalty, is to have a voice in the British Parliament. 

Digitized by 

Ch. VI.] 



Mr. Goldsmid is a man of something more than 
business talent ; good tempered ; not obtruding the 
pride of riches ; hospitable. Mr. William Allen, the 
Quaker, may form the third in this group. I have 
often called on him at his old place of business in 
Plough Court, where, a practical chemist, he had 
been a thriving tradesman, and at the same time a 
Fellow of the Royal Society and a valuable con- 
tributor to its transactions. He well merited the 
honour of his countrymen for other qualities than his 
scientific acquirements. He was a liberal promoter 
of every public scheme of benevolence. He estab- 
lished upon his estate at Lindfield, in Sussex, after 
he withdrew firom the cares of a commercial life, 
schools for boys, girls, and infants, — ^real schools of 
industry, where agriculture was taught, as well as 
many useftil arts. Whilst the children had every 
opportunity for acquiring health in recreation, and 
improvement in a good library, he built cottages for 
the labourers of his village, such as ought to have 
shamed many a landowner out of his neglect. The 
memory of this good man is to me fresh and fragrant. 

There was perhaps no society in England, with 
the exception of the Royal Society, which could 
present such a knot of young men of high promise 
as were assembled at our committees in the 
earliest stages of their organisation. Mr. John 
William Lubbock, the only child of the eminent city 
banker, assiduously followed his father's calling, 
whilst he was attaining the highest reputation as a 
mathematician. In 1825 he had graduated as M.A. 
at Cambridge. In 1828 he was rendering me the 
most important assistance in the preparation of the 
"British Almanac." For several years he worked 


with the heartiest zeal at this apparently humble 
contxibuticm to the objects of the Society. But the 
occupation was not a humble one, for he was prac- 
tically developing his investigations upon the Tides, 
which subject formed several papers in the Philo- 
sophical Transactions. Devoting himself with the 
same readiness to superintend the astronomical 
portion of the British Almanac, I was also brought 
into intercourse with Mr. John Wrottesley, after- 
wards Lord Wrottesley, and President of the JU>yal 
Society. He was a member of the bar. Mr. 
Benjamin Malkin — afterwards Sir Benjamin, when 
he accepted a high judicial appointment in India, 
and there too soon closed his valuable lifa — devoted 
his great talents and acquirements with indefatigable 
industry to the business of our committee. His 
forte was mathematics. His brother Arthur was 
elected to the committee a few years after, and in 
several departments rendered essential service as 
a writer and editor. Mr. T. J. lllis, the friend 
and eacecutor of Macaulay, had many opportu- 
jutifis, in the revision of the Bociet/s works, to 
iezerdse his acute critical faculty. Mr. Lefevz^ (now 
^ir John) was also one of the distinguished Cam- 
bridge graduates who gave to the Useful £jiowledge 
Bociety the prestige of their academical honours. 

The University of London (as the College was then 
called) numbered amongst its Professors some of the 
ablest members of our committea Amongst the first 
of those who joined the Society was Mr. George Long. 
.In subsequent "Passages,'* I shall have so frequently 
/to mention his name, as one of the most important 
of mjr asso<nates, that it will be scarcely necessary for 
me here to do more than allude to his unequalled 



mimtrj, his uch. scbolanship^ his sound judgment, 
which very soon gave him his right position aooaongst 
the eminent p^ons by -whom he was .surrounded. 
Mr. De Morgan became a member -somewhat later. I 
first jEn.w Jbim in 18S0. The occasion will arise for 
mcoitioning the eminrat services he rcaidered to the 
works an which I have been engaged. Mr. Key, and 
Mr. Maiden, about iihe sam^ period ccmimenoed iiheir 
distinguished career as teachers of youth, and very 
soon also devoted their unprofessional services to the 
general diffusion of knowledge. 

Mr. Leonaid Horner was the Warden ^f the 
London University, when he became a member of 
the Useful Knowledge committee. In their early 
atages the new preparatory institution ''for affording 
to young men adequate opportunities for obtainiog 
ii^eacary and scientific education at a moderate ex- 
pense,;" ai3^ the new sodety for ''inkling useful 
information to all classes of the conanunity/' were 
considered by many to be engaged in a co-partner- 
ship iogc th^ political and theological coFru|itiQn of 
youths and adults. In some arrangements pre- 
scribed by a rigid ^onomy in the finances of each, 
tkey did tq^ar to cany on their opend^i^ui in<oon- 
^)ert Thus, when I first attesided in Percy Street 
ito read maAusoripts and proofs, I had to thread my 
way u|» a staircase, on the walls of which Ih. 
Ijardner was hanging models for the illustraticm of 
his approaching Ijectures on Mechamos. As a m- 
oessaffy consequence^ the council of the University, 
and ^ committee of the Society^ had several 
members in common. Mr. Homer was not only 
surrounded with the reflection of his -eminenli bre- 
4iher's famc^ but had that brother's tes^mmj* m 

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his published letters, to the interest which young 
Leonard, as early as 1811, took in the education of 
the people. How well he was qualified for popular 
instruction was shown by an admirable series of 
articles on " The Mineral Kingdom " which he con- 
tributed to the "Penny Magazine." How ardently 
and unremittingly he strove to elevate the condition, 
and provide for the health of the Working Classes, 
has been manifested by his labours as a Factory 

I am still hovering round the remembrance of the 
earlier members of the Society, whose literary or 
scientific qualifications gave the assurance that no 
publication would go forth, deformed by the in- 
accuracies of superficial information. In a volume 
written by me ten years ago, I have expressed 
my opinion upon the system pursued in our com- 
mittees : — " From the time when the Society com- 
menced a real 'superintendence' of works for the 
people — ^when it assisted, by diligent revision and 
friendly inquiry, the services of its editors — ^the 
old vague generalities of popular knowledge were 
exploded; and the scissors-and-paste school of 
authorship had to seek for other occupations than 
Paternoster Row could once furnish. Accuracy was 
forced upon elementary books as the rule and not 
the exception. Books professedly 'entertaining' 
were to be foimded upon exact information, and 
their authorities invariably indicated. No doubt 
this superintendence in some degree interfered with 
the firee course of original composition, and imparted 
somewhat of the utilitarian character to everything 
produced. But it was the only course by which a 
new aspect could be given to cheap literature, by 

Ch. VI.] 



showing that the great principles of excellence were 
common to all books^ whether for the learned or 
the iininformeA" * To accomplish such real super- 
intendence there were the services afr hand^ in the 
department that may be broadly characterised as 
Natural History, of Mr. Daniel, in Meteorology ; 
of Mr. De La Beche, in Geology ; of Mr. Vigors, 
in Zoology ; and of Dr. Anthony Todd Thomson, in 
Botany and Vegetable Physiology. With each of 
these gentlemen I was, in various labours, brought 
into pleasant and profitable intercourse. I was in 
more direct and constant intimacy with Mr. William 
Coulson, the translator of Blumenbach's "Com- 
parative Anatomy." In the composition of my 
little book on " Menageries," I could always apply, 
in cases of doubt, to his technical information, and 
to the wide range of the scientific knowledge of 
Mr. Vigors. The aid which Dr. Conolly rendered to 
the diffiision of knowledge was not special or pro- 
fessional. In those departments of what we now 
call " social science," which include the public health 
in its largest sense, his experience was always working 
in companionship with his benevolence. In 1831 
we were united in the production of a series which 
was directly addressed to the working classes. Dr.. 
Conolly brought to this useful labour — of which I 
shall have to make more particular mention — ^a lucid 
style, and an accurate conception of the true mode of 
reaching the imeducated. " Be thou familiar, but by 
no means vulgar," is as good a maxim for a popular 
writer, as for a young courtier going forth into the 
world, to deal with all sorts and conditions of men. 

* " The Old Printer and the Modern Press." Muiray. 



We had many lawyers on the committee. I have 
mentioned aeveral who were distinguiahed for their 
remarkable scientific, qualifications. Others of the 
bar were accomplished scholars. But no one dis- 
played a more elegant taste than John Herman 
Merivale. His translations from the Greek Antho- 
logy, and fii*om the minor poems of Schiller, hare 
not been condemned to that oblivion which attends 
the greater number of poetical attempts. The pvirity 
and elegance of the whole mind of Mr. Merivale is 
reflected in his poems. Courteous and sympathising, 
I lod£ back upon my occasional intercourse with him 
with respect almost bordering upon affection. Mr. 
Qeorge Comewall Lewis brought his various high 
qualifications to the service of the Society at a later 
period, when he became a contributor to its publica- 
tiona I mention him among the lawyers, for before 
he jconed the Useful Knowledge committee he had 
been called to the bar. Of the elder lawyers, no 
one was more valuable to the society than Mr. 
James Ma.nning — perhaps the most pntfound of the 
historical and antiquarian lawyers of his time. His 
accurate information upon many abstruse legal mat- 
ters was amply displayed when he became one of the 
mtost important contributors to the Feimj Cydo- 
pasdia." Mr. David Jardine was also a most useful 
contributor to the legal department of the Cydo- 
peedia, and was the author of Criminal Trials/' pitb- 
lished in the library of Entertaining £^wledge~a 
valuable contribution to our constitutional history. 
Let me not omit to mention the yotmgest of the 
lawyers amongst us — ^Mr. Thomas Falooner, who 
was called to the bar in 1830. He inherited literary- 
tastes^ and was an acute aA well as a. modest critic 



upon the unpublished volumes and articles that 
were submitted for his revision. 

Mr. John Wood (afterwards chairman of the 
Inland Revenue) was at the bar. He was skilful 
in financial and statistical matters, and greatly 
assisted in a vigilant administration of the Society's 
pecuniary affairs. Of a higher character of mind 
was Mr. James Loch, the auditor for the manage- 
ment of the vast properties of the Duke of Suther- 
land and Lord Francis Egerton. He had a hard 
battle to sustain against that class of philanthropists 
who contended that the removal of a wretched cottier 
tenantry by emigration, to make room for the influ- 
ences of capital, was harsh and unfeeling. Mr. Loch 
vindicated his measures with signal ability. The 
time was to come when the Irish famine would teach 
US what a happiness it was for the Highlands, that 
there was a man who had the courage to carry out 
his just conceptions of the duty of a great landed 
proprietor. Some years of cordial intercourse with 
Mr. James Loch satisfied me that a sound benevo- 
lence, combined with a clear intellect, was the basis 
of his character. 

I have finally to turn to a knot of men, eminent 
in the political^ annals of our country. They might 
at first view be regarded as the Corinthian capitals 
of our edifice. But this would only be a half-truth. 
Lord John Russell, Lord Auckland, Lord Althorp, 
Mr. Denman, Mr. Spring Rice, Sir Henry Pamell, 
were always ready to work as members of o\ir 
committee, even after they had been called to the 
highest offices of the State. After the Reform era 
I have sat at the monthly dinner with five Cabinet 
Ministers, to whom it appeared that their duty was 


to carry forward that advancmg intelligence of the 
people which had conducted them to power, and 
which would aflford the best security that liberal 
opinions and democratic violence should not be in 
concert, as the "one increasing purpose" was work- 
ing out the inevitable changes of society and govern- 
ment. The first poet of the generation that was 
immediately to follow them has probably shadowed 
out the convictions that made Ministers of State 
zealous educationists : 

" Yet I doabt not ihrongli the ages one increasing purpose nms. 
And the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the 
snns." Lockaley Salt. 

It was not only in the meetings of our committees 
that I had the advantage, for my editorial guidance^ 
of the opinions of men of accurate minds and sound 
information ; but I was frequently also in corre- 
spondence with those who took a more than common 
interest in particular works. Such a work was that 
well-known contribution to the " Library of Enter- 
taining Knowledge," which first established the re- 
putation of Mr. George Lillie Craik as a sound 
thinker and an accomplished writer. To myself, 
individually, the recollection of that autumn of 1828 
is especially dear, for it saw the commencement of an' 
intimacy which ripened into the unbroken friendship 
of six-and-thirty years. In the preliminary stages 
of discussion on the objects and mode of treatment 
of a book such as this, which was to embrace a vast 
number of illustrative anecdotes of the love of know- 
ledge overcoming the opposition of circumstances, 
there were necessarily different estimates of the 
value of scientific and literary studies, whether "for 

Ch. VL] 



use," or " for delight," or " for ornament,** The great 
distinction between the love of knowledge for its own 
sake, and the love of knowledge as the means of 
worldly advancement, may be traced very distinctly 
in the two popular volumes of Mr. Craik, and the 
equally popular " Self Help" of Mr. Smiles. Mr. 
Craik's views upon this cardinal point are very 
clearly expressed in a letter written to me by him 
in the autumn of 1829, but having no date except 
the day of the week (a very perplexing custom for 
the historian or biographer). His views are so in- 
teresting, that I make no apology for the length of 
the quotation : — 

"Our concern, it appears to me, is neither with 
individuals who have in <my way been exalted from 
one region of society to another, nor even with such 
as have been chiefly the authors of their own exalta^ 
tion, — ^for the fact of their exaltation is not at all the 
one upon which we wish to fix attention, even al- 
though we should make it out to have been in every 
case the consequence of their abilities and attain- 
ments. What, then, is our subject? Not the 
trhimpha of genius, nor of perseverance, nor even 
of perseverance in the pursuit of knowledge, because 
it is not the success of the effort, at least in a gross 
and worldly sense, we would point attention to ; 
nor is it by any means what is called genius to 
which we are exclusively to confine ourselves, while 
we still less mean to include every species of per- 
severance. But we want a category which shall 
embrace, for example, the cases at once of Lady 
Mary Wortley Montague, of Franklin, of all, in 
short, who, whether in humble or in high life, 
have pursued knowledge with ardour, and distinctly 

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evidenced^ by the seductions they resisted or the 
difficulties they encountered and overcame for her 
sake, that she was the fii-st object of their affections ; 
and that the pursuit of her, even without any re- 
ference to either the wealth, the power, or the 
distinction, which she might bring them, was, in 
tiieir estimation, its own sufficient reward. It ap- 
pears to me, then, clearly, that our titie must be, not 
Anecdotes of Self-taught Genius at all, for that is 
greatly too limited, but ATiecdotes of tlis Love of 
Knowledge — ^that being, in truth, the one distinction 
whidi we find common to all the examples we Would 
embrace, as well as the disposition which we mean 
diiefly to excite and foster." 

Mr. Oraik had written a preliminary dissertation, 
in the sound views of which Mr. Brougham expressed 
himself to me as generally ooindding. But in a 
portion of a letter, dated from Westmoreland in 
September, 1828, (and I judge, therefore, to have 
preceded by a month or two the letter from Mr. 
Craik which I have quoted,) Mr. Brougham takes a 
different view (rf the range of such a work as that 
proposed : " His (Mr. Craik's) idea of the line to be 
drawn as to self-educated men in modem times, is 
also quite correct ; but we must, neveitheless, confine 
the examples to cases which are quite plainly those 
of men who have greatly altei*ed their situation 
by force of merit As Watt, Arkwright, Franklin,. 
Bums, Bloomfield, Mendel8sohn~making the ground 
of division or <^assification self-^xaUation rather 
than self-education, though they often will coincide. 
This field is quite large enough for one book; but 
the work might be followed by another compre- 
hending the rest of it, and induding all self-taught 

Ch. VI.] 



Genius in the larger sense. To give an example — 
I should certainly exclude Newton, though, like 
Pascal, he taught himself mathematics ; also Gran- 
ville Sharpe, though he raised himself by his merit to 
great fame ; but he was grandson of the Archbishop 
of York, and could not be said to alter his station in 
life. I look forward to Mr. Craik's labours as of the 
greatest me to the Society, and to the good cauBe; 
having the greatest confidence in his sound prin- 
ciples, and a very high opinion o£ his talents." 

Hob inteFesting discussion was continued between 
Mr. Brougham, Mr. Hill, Mr. Oraik, and myself, tiE 
it was 6em how the opposite views could be resolved 
into a general agreement. I have before me Mr. 
Krougham's proof of Mr. Craik's first volume. To 
Mr. Brougham irto be assigned the merit of giving 
to the book in this proof the title which has oome 
to be one of the commonest forms of speech : 

"Tnas Pursuit of KInowledge under Diffi- 


The title wiginally stood, — 

" The Love of ELnowledge overcoming Diffi- 
culties IN ITS Pursuit." 


|XTRING the spring of 1830 I am engaged 
in carrying forward the regular monthly 
publication of the Library of Enter- 
taining Knowledge, which was issued in 
half volumes. I am also occupied in writing a 
second Tolume of "The Menageries," Important 
events are at hand. The confirmed ill-health of 
George IV, was the chief subject of political in- 
terest, for most persons were looking forward to the 
inevitable dissolution of Parliament, which would 
follow the accession of a new King. Yet the greater 
number of the Londoners were more agitated by a 
change that was proceeding — ^the metamorphosis of 
the old watchman into the new police — ^than by the 
approaching transition from the fourth George to thd 
fourth William. There were many silly people who 
thought that our liberties were coming to an end 
when a dozen tall fellows in a blue uniform were 
seen issuing from their station to patrol the streets, 
unarmed with sword or pistol. RuflSans, and thieves, 
and dirty little boys insulted them ; and sometimes 
there was a serious aflfray, in which the guardians of 
the peace were openly defied. I looked, one after- 
noon, from my windows in Pall Mall East, and be- 
held what waa really a formidable street riot, in 
which the conduct of the rioters was as brutal as 
that of the police was forbearing. " Down with the 

Digitized by 


Ch. VIL] 



Peelers J " was the cry that came with a gathering 
mob that rushed forth from the narrow and dirty 
Whitcomb Street, and went on, to the terror of shop- 
keepers and passengers, till large re-inforcements 
arrived, and the mob fled, as they always will flee, 
before combined and vigorous action. 

George IV. died on the 26th of June. The oath of 
allegiance to King William IV, having been taken by 
peers and commoners, the business of Parliament 
commenced on the 29th, and afker a somewhat 
stormy three weeks, it was prorogued by the King 
on the 23rd of July, In the royal speech the 
general tranquillity of Europe was adverted to as an 
object of congratulation. On Monday morning, the 
26th of July, three Ordinances of the King of France 
were published, which shook Paris to its centre, as 
by a social earthquake. These unconstitutional 
decrees, which suspended the liberty of the periodical 
press, dissolved the Chamber of Deputies, and les- 
sened the number of the people's representatives, 
produced what is known as the Bevolution of July. 
Never did any event of foreign poHtics more deeply 
and widely stir the feelings of the British people, 
At the commencement of another week, the three 
days of the barricades had snatched the sovereignty 
of France from the incapable hands of the elder 
branch of the Bourbons ; the Duke of Orleans had 
consented to exercise the functions of Lieutenant- 
General of the Kingdom ; the Chamber of Deputies 
was again opened, and a large majority, after a few 
days' debate, declared that the urgent interests of 
the French nation called the Duke of Orleans to the 

For several weeks in our country this great French 

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revolutioQ was the one absorbing tope of thou^t 
and speech. The 83niipathy of the British peo^ 
with the reyolutionists was a solid feeling of satkh 
faction thai a ^ royal rebellion against sodety had 
been signally defeated. These expressive four words 
are those by which Dr. Arnold charactertsed the 
cause of this great outbreak. In a letter of the 24th 
of August, he writes to his friend the Beir. George 
Cornish : " It seems to me a most blessed levolution, 
spotless beyond all example in history, and the most 
glorious instance of a royal rebellion against society^ 
promptly and energetically repressed, that the world 
has yet seen. It magnifio^tly vindicates the cause 
of knowledge and liberty, shoninng how humanisdng 
to all classes of sodety are the e^eadof thought 
and information, and improved political institutions ; 
and it lays the crimes of the last revoluti(m just in 
the right place, the wicked aristocracy, that had 
so brutalized the people by its long iniquities that 
they were like slaves broken loose when they first 
bestirred themselves."^ In the same spirit, Mr. 
Brougham writes to me, in the middle of August, 
from Lancaster : I give you much jc^ of these 
grand events. The peacefiil and moderate conduct 
of the French Liberals is everything fer tike cause of 
soimd opinion and good government. I find all 
radonai Tories are of this mind, and my support in 
Yorkshire waa almost as much from them as any 
other quarter. Then what a thing that our frigid 
M. de &<oglie, Mmister of Iristrwclion, is Prime 

On the l€th of August the deposed King of 
* Ii& of Dr. Arnold, toL i. p. 364. 

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caL viL] 



France had embarked at Ch^bourg, for En^asid. 
The probability of a reactionary movement seeii^ 
to be at an end, and whilst all France, according to 
M. Gilizot, hastened to Paris, many of the toorists of 
England, turning from the picturesque of Italy and 
Switzerland, went to look upon the spots whidi had 
already attained historical celebrity; — spots where 
for tha«e days woriftnen in blouses had stood up 
against a regular soldiery, tiU a small band of the 
Chamber of Deputies, at first hesitating and timid, 
prodaimed, " France is free ! Absolute power ele- 
vated its standard; the heroic population of Paris 
has beaten it down." Mr. ICatthew Hill and I were 
strongly moved by these grand events.** We 
determined not only to have a holiday in Paris, but 
to collect there as many £Bbcts from eye-witnesses 
during the three days as to give additional interest 
to a narrative which might form a portion of the 
library of Entertaining Knowledge. My excellent 
friend M. Tarver, of whom I have spoken in the pre- 
vious volume, agreed to accompany us. We set out 
on the evening of the 30th of August, and the Dover 
mail arrived in time for the steam-packet to Calais. 
Englishmen who had never crossed the Channel were 
rushing from London and the provinces, to look upon 
the scenes, the descriptions of which, during the re- 
cess of Parliament, filled eveiy newspaper. A fellow- 
passenger in the mail asked permission to break&st 
with us when we had readied the well-known saUe d, 
7na/nger of the original Meurice. Our friend Tarver 
catered in the mode which he thought would be most 
s^eeable to us as citizens of the world. Our d&anoe 
acquaintance was rather dismayed at our solid refec- 
tion of cutlets^ p&t^ de foie gras, and a coujde of 



bottles of Lafitte, but he bore the infliction of the 
shaxe of the bill with a true English magnanimity. 

In our journey to Paris, we were surprised to find, 
by talking with the people in the villages where we 
changed horses, and in the towns where we dined 
or slept, how little was known with any exactness of 
the circumstances that had been happening in the 
capitaL They had no news to tell us that was not a 
week old ; they had no conjectures to offer upon the 
probabiKty of future events. We went out of our 
direct way to see Chantilly. The palace of the great 
Cond^ had been destroyed in the first revolution; but 
the park and gardens, which Delille had made famous 
as "ce beau Chantilly," still flourished. At the time 
of our visit an unusual gloom hung over the place, 
for a mysterious tragedy had there been enacted a 
very few weeks before. The house was shut up. The 
old Duke de Bourbon had been laid in the vaults 
of St. Denis to be terrified no more by the echoes 
of another revolution. The huntsman of the duke 
was an Englishman. Of him I learnt much of the 
condition of the peasantry in the forest of Chantilly, 
and was led to think there might be even a worse 
lot than that of a Dorsetshire labourer, " A severe 
winter," said the himtsman, "is a blessing to the 
poor in this district, for horses often fall on the 
slippery roads, and breaking their legs, are killed 
and left on the wayside. Then, and almost only 
then, the cottagers have a taste of fresh meat." 

Our sojourn in Paris for a fortnight was not a 
period of idleness. The public resorts presented 
unusual objects of interest On the evening of our 
arrival we dine at a restaurateur's, the private meal 
at the Hotel de Windsor not offering sufficient food 

Digitized by 

Ch. VII.] 



for our curiosity. Amongst the diners were many 
young men of the National Guard, which body of 
the civic militia had been suppressed by Charles X. 
in 1827> but had started up again to take its share 
in the fight for liberty in July, 1830. During our 
visit to Paris, M. de Lafayette related with cha- 
racteristic animation how he was at break£sist on 
the 29th of July, at his seat at La Grange, when 
the news of the Ordinances came ; Jiow he hastened 
to Paris to organize the National Guard ; and how 
the young men who were at the head of the 
movement asking him for his name as their chief, 
he at once gave his assent. The uniform of the 
National Guard, when we were in Paris on the 2ild 
of September, was seen in every quarter. One of 
my friends was moved to enthusiasm at the imme- 
diate presence at the restaurant of some of the 
heroes of the three days, and he stood up, to the 
visible surprise of the party in r^imentals at 
another table, to propose the health of the gentle- 
men of the National Guard. The compliment was 
received with the usual politeness of the nation. 
We fraternized, and had a pleasant hour of warlike 

No time was lost by my friends and myself in 
setting out upon a tour of inspection of the streets 
and quays which had been memorable scenes of the 
great conflict. It required, however, some minute 
observation to trace the external evidence of the 
warfare that had raged only a month befora In a 
great battle-field, such as that of Waterloo, where 
thousands have perished amidst standing com, nature 
very soon covers the traces of bloodshed with her own 
green mantle. In a populous city, where men have 


been fighting from house to house, regardless of the 
temporary injury to private property, the raTEgee are 
very soon obliterated by the usual course of industry. 
The work and the pleasure of the world goes on as 
before, and in another generation the minute local 
associations of stirring events have ceased to have 
any aUding place in the memory. But to me and 
my fellow-^travellers there was not one of these spots 
of passing celebnty which had not an excitement for 
our curiosity. 

Without stopping to regard the objects of our 
special seardi near the B.ue de Bivoli^ where we 
lodge^ we hire an open carriage, and driving along 
the Quai de la proceed at once to the Hdtel de 
YiUe. In the open space opposite the h6tel there 
was a very unusual display of merchandize, which 
told of scnnething different from the peaceful ex* 
change of the necessaries of life. Muskets, pistok, 
awordsy bayonets, many of them rusty, and mos^ in a 
dilapidated condition, were lying on the pavement 
for chance sale.. Here we got into talk wiih a smart 
and intelligent young man, who had his arm in a 
dxQg, having been wounded by a sabre cut He was 
a nail-maker, of the name of Louis Jean Dextf. He 
told us how a journeyman printer had given him the 
news of the Ordinances, and how they went out the 
next morning to fight side by side, and were fighting 
up and down the city during the three days of coa^ 
fliet. 'ELete wa» exactly a man to tell us somethiBg 
mcMre than we could learn from, chance oiMervation, 
so we screed that he should accompany us in our 
progress, and a very useful and trustwo^hy guide 
we found him.. Opposite the H6tel de Yille was the 
shop of a grocer, of the name ol Bivi&ceiy who, aa a 

Digitized by 

Ch. VII.] 



braiicli his trade, sold wine and Inrandy. Der^ 
pointed out this store as a place that bore signal 
evidence of the affiray* The good man was proud to 
show us his broken windowHsashes and his riddled 
shelves. He was more proud to tell us how one 
of hia sons had been a school-fellow of one of the 
young princes of the house of OrleaDs.. The passion 
for relics, which most of us, I suppose, cannot re&ain 
from indu%ing» was displayed by me in a way which 
did not much command the afber-sympi^y of my 
household. On a peg in the shop hung a pewter 
wine measureiy of about the capacity of a |»at, which 
had been pierced by a ball. I bore it off in triumj^^ 
at a &ncy price, contemplating libationB to liberty 
on future days of July. I am afraid it was too vulgar 
a utensil ev^ to make an appearance at my table, 
and it w^t, I siqipose, the way of all useless things 
which encumber tidy aervasfts who have no respect 
f<Mr enthusiasm — not even for antique images with 
broken noses — who deal cruelly with our most saered 
treasurea of antiquarianism in the way that a wicked 
housemaid scoured the shield of Martinua Seriblerua 
The series of " Entertaining Enowle<%e " contains 
two volumes entitled ''Paris and its HiirtiMrical 
Scenes." They were written by Mr. Craik. The 
first volume is ow especially of permanent interest, 
as rdating to the growth of the Frendicapstal under 
the old monardiy ; and describes its more remark- 
able edifices and snkuations in coBnexicm with the 
great eventa of which that city had been the theatre. 
Nor is the second vokime less valuable, as continuing 
the saoeeasion of dbetehes, held together by the 
thdread of local aa80ciation& To bring together in 
a Qeodenaed narrative the obscure records oi the 

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middle ages, and the pamphlet of the hour, — ^to tell 
the story of the Barricades of the League, of the 
Three Days of 1830, — ^was a labour worthy of a 
trustworthy writer. It is sufficient to refer to this 
volume to render it altogether unnecessary to go 
over the scenes that my friends and I traced during 
our fortnight's exploration. I have therein indicated 
some of the objects that especially attracted my 
notice through personal information, which passages 
are referred to by the letters S. T. I have some 
notes before me of various details by our companion, 
Mr. Tarver, whose knowledge of the language which 
he had spoken from his childhood, saved us from 
many a difficulty and mistake. One of his notes as 
to the general demeanour of those with whom we 
conversed, principally mechanics, is worth trans- 
cribing : " Nothing can equal the calm and unpre- 
tending manner with which the mass of the people 
speak of the three glorious days. Satisfied with 
having successfully repelled the act of tyranny, they 
resumed their occupations, even apparently uncon- 
scious of having done anything to deserve the 
gratitude of their fellow-citizens." From a friend of 
ten years earlier with whom I was then associated in 
the "Architects and Antiquaries' Club" — a most 
pleasant society, of which the elder Pugin and other 
eminent artists were members — derived valuable 
information for the materials of the projected book. 
Mr. Crecy was engaged in the building of a magnifi- 
cent square in the Bue St. Lazare, and had seen some 
remarkable traits of the scrupulous honesty and 
excellent organization of some of the heroes of the 
three days. A band of men having come to demand 
his tools and his timber for the formation of a barri- 

Ch. VII.] 



cade, took oflf every article which could possibly be 
useful to them. Not a crowbar or a pickaxe, not a 
scaflfold pole or a deal batten, not the minutest piece 
of wood, was lost. Everything was restored to Mr. 
Crecy, who did not estimate his damage at the value 
of five shillings. 

Of the inner political life of the Paris of 1830, 1 
had a few glimpses. Lafayette gave a weekly 
reception at the H6tel which he inhabited, as com- 
mander of the National Guard. The spacious rooms 
were crowded, not only with officers and privates of 
the civic militia, but with deputies and journalists, 
with men of science and of art, with foreigners of all 
climes. I renewed here my acquaintance with a 
clever Frenchman, M. St. George, who had been a 
useful contributor to the " London Magazine." He 
was here quite at home, for his democratic principles 
had always been very manifest, and were somewhat 
difficult of restraint in the moderate-toned miscellany 
which St. Leger and I conducted. He pointed out 
to me the various celebrities, but there was none on 
whom I looked with more respect than upon the 
venerable man who had fought with Washington in 
1777, who had organized the French National Guard 
in 1789, who had incurred the hatred of the Jacobins 
in 1792, by his denunciation of the outrages com- 
mitted against Louis XVI., who had retired into 
private life when the ambition of Bonaparte seemed 
to render liberty impossible, who finally a month 
before I saw him had headed the revolt of the people 
against Charles X., and believed that he had estab- 
lished freedom upon a constitutional basis when he 
proposed Louis Philippe as king. The fine old man 
was now in his seventy-third year, courteous, high- 

▼OL. II. L 


spirited as became one who belonged to the chival- 
rous days of the old aristocracy ; identified with the 
hopes and feelings of the class more especially 
regarded as the people, in whose moral and intel- 
lectual progress he saw something like a security foir 
the future against a return of the storms which he 
had witnessed* 

I had an opportunity, in company with Mr. Hill,, 
of being present at an entertainment of a very 
unusual character in France. The London system of 
public dinners, for social or pditical purposes, was 
then comparatively unknown in Paris. We had been 
introduced to a celebrated man of letters who was 
said to have had the not very enviable distinction, 
of having been private secretary to Robespierre. He 
was now the editor of one of the most voluminous 
and ambitious periodical works in the French Ian* 
guage— ''Le Bulletin UniverseV which had its 
ramifications throughout Europe. He had his soir^ 
in an inmiense library, set apart for the use of con- 
tributors of all nations, where they might peruse the 
new books and jomnals of their own la&guages, and 
digest them upon the systematic principle of French 
editors into elaborate reviews and smart paragraphs. 
I was well acquainted with the ** Bulletin Universel," 
for in the third volume of the " London Magazine " I 
had introduced a new department, called the 
''Journal of Facts," in which I referred to the 
Bulletin as a monthly publication averaging 700 or 
800 octavo pages-—" a most valuable store-house of 
every new fact that is called into light by the com- 
munication of mind throughout the world." I was 
happy to intrust this department to a g^tleman 
well qualified to conduct it by his knowledge of 


foreign languages. Mr. Charles Atkinson rendered me 
this literary assistance several years before he had 
be<3ome the able and esteemed secretary of University 
College. Mr. Hill and I were invited to join a large 
party of the collahorateura of " Le Bulletin TJni- 
versel," who were to assemble at an early hour of a 
coming afternoon to dine at a pleasant tea-garden 
outside the barriers. The party was a large one. 
There was a mixture of tongues — French, German, 
Italian, but only one Englishman besides ourselves. 
We were happy to recognize the distinguished mem- 
ber of parliament who had written the best book 
on English finance — Sir Henry Pamell, a member of 
our Useful Knowledge Committee. The guests were 
being seated, when I took the liberty of mention- 
ing to the president the political eminence of our 
compatriot, venturing to refer to the custom in 
England, that men of high mark should have a seat 
at the upper end of the table. With perfect suavity 
he informed me that in France the principle of 
equality was so recognized that he could make no 
distinctions. The guests took their places pa/r 
hasard. The eating went on very rapidly, for the 
object of the meeting was, that certain fiery spirits 
should deliver exciting orations. It was as much 
like a platform assembly as could be imagined, with 
the single exception, that a good deal of wine was 
drunk. But there were no toasts given out by the 
chair ; no standing up for three times three ; no 
speeches such as England was so fertile in pro- 
ducing, when the honoured one declared for the 
fiftieth time, that this was the proudest moment of 
his life. But there were speeches at this French 
political assembly which were really worth listening 

J, 2 

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to, if only for the intensity with which the rising 
democratic spirit of Europe was thus embodied. One 
of the most remarkable of these speakers — ^worthy 
of note not only for his ability but for the ad- 
venturous circumstances in which he had recently 
been placed, — ^was M. Potter, the famous Belgian. 
Banished in the previous April under a sentence of 
conspiracy against the government of the Nether- 
lands, he had returned from France after the days 
of July, and had headed the revolt of Brussels on the 
25th of August. It was about the 10th of Septem- 
ber when we saw him after his return to Paris, 
when the first insurrection of Brussels had been 
put down, and only a few days before he returned 
thither, to organize that second insurrection, which 
ended in the separation of Belgium from Holland. 
One little incident of this dinner I well remember, 
£is moving us to repeated merriment in intervals of 
the most solemn displays of fervid oratory. A little 
boy with a fiddle crept to the side of the three 
Englishmen, who probably looked less stem than 
;8ome around us, and requested that we Would ask 
the president for permission to exhibit his skill for 
the entertainment of the company. We ventured to 
<;onvey this request to the chairman, who graciously 
consented. In a pause of the speechification, the 
little fellow mounted upon a stool, played with 
considerable spirit the long suppressed air of La 
ilarseillaise, equally distasteftil to Bonaparte and 
Bourbon ; renewed his exertions during another 
pause, and went round with his hat to collect sous 
from the company. 

My attention was agreeably directed in Paris to 
inquiries of a less exciting nature than the circum- 

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stances attending the Revolution of the three days. 
In the preparation of the two volumes of my " Me- 
nageries," I had studied the habits of the animals 
there described in the small collection that was 
then still preserved in the Tower of London, in the 
caravans of Bartholomew Fair, and best of all, in 
the gardens of the Zoological Society. Those gardens, 
first opened to the public in the spring of 1828, 
were in 1830 far removed from their present per- 
fection. The space enclosed was comparatively small, 
the buildings were not of the best construction with 
regard to the health of the animals ; the collection 
itself contained some very beautiful specimens, 
especially of the camivora, but did not then offer the 
noble assemblage of living curiosities, some almost 
unique, which have now been gathered together 
here, through the munificence of scientific travellers 
and the liberal expenditure of the Society, that has 
thus raised up one of the most useful and the most 
popular institutions of London. I was curious to see 
in Paris how far our spirit of associated enterprise in 
England promised successfully to compete with the 
state expenditure of France. We had the rare ad- 
vantage of visiting the Jardin des Plantes under 
the guidance of the illustrious Cuvier. During the 
outbreak of the Revolution of the three days he 
was in England, but he returned soon after Louis 
Pfdlippe had been called to the throne, to continue 
his course of lectures on the history and progress of 
the natural sciences. His recent visit to England 
rendered his conversation during our walks through 
the gardens and the museum peculiarly interesting. 
He had seen that we were making an attempt in the 
right direction towards the formation of a great 

Digitized by 



national menagerie, but he had also seen the effect 
of limited means in confining the larger quadrupeds 
in miserable cages, instead of exhibiting them where* 
ever possible, under the influence of their natural 
habits. I might have told him, and perhaps did so, 
that, a short time before, the young elephant of our 
Zoological Gardens, shut up in a cage on one side of 
a passage about four feet wide, had, whilst I was 
looking at some animal in the opposite cage, in* 
serted his trunk into my outer pocket searching for 
a cake, and not easily withdrawing it, had dragged 
me up to the bars and then tore my coat into 
ribbons. The amiable desire of the man who was 
then confessedly the greatest naturalist in Europe, 
to impart a portion of his rare knowledge to a 
listener who had nX) scientific pretensions, but who 
might be able to present some truths to the popular 
understanding, left a deep impression upon my 
memory. The unpretending simplicity of his man- 
ner was in him nothing remarkable, for I have ever 
noticed simplicity as the leading characteristic of 
men of the highest talents and acquirements. 

Mr. Hill and I left Paris about the 16th of Sep- 
tember. We travelled to Rouen and thence on to 
Havre. Here we heard the distressing news of the 
£a.tal accident which had befallen Mr. Huskisson at 
the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Bail- 
way, on the 15th of September. Deeply felt as was 
the calamity which accompanied this auspicious 
event of the opening, there was scarcely any edu- 
cated person in England who did not hail the 
triumph of the locomotive engine as the commence- 
ment of a change which would produce mor^ per- 
manent effect upon the progi-ess of society than any 

Digitized by 

Ch. VII.] 



revolutionary movement — any substitution of one 
^et of political administrators for another set, at 
which most of the outs are ready to exclaim-^ 
^' Patience, and shuffle the cards." When the great 
political economist who led the way to oommereial 
freedom, perished under the wheels of the " Rocket " 
^Dgi^e, he might, as the trains first began to move 
through the wondrous power of steam, have thought 
that there was at that hour being accomplished a 
new manifestation of the most terrific force in the 
universe, subdued and regulated into perfect organi- 
zation and discipline. At the meeting of 1824, fQr 
erecting a monument to James Watt, Mr. Huskisson 
had described one man as directing steam into the 
bowels of the earth, another placing it upon the surr 
face of the waters, and he added, ''a third, perhaps, 
and a fourth, are destined to apply this mighty power 
to other purposes, not less important than those 
which it has already produced," Yet probably 
Oeorge Stephenson, who was destined to work out 
the " other purposes/' could scarcely have filled his 
imagination with a thought of the extent to which 
the locomotive would be applied, when, in a letter 
addressed to the editor of the Companion to the 
Almanac, in October, 1829, hi? said, ''The 'Rocket' 
locomotive engine, which gained the premium of 
dOOZ., is about to be put on Chat Moss, to drag the 
gravel for finishing the pennanent way, and there 
is no doubt but a proportionate reduction will take 
place-^besides doing away with the wear and tear of 
the horse-track which, on ail new-made roads, is sq 
considerable/' This is £clipse dragging a sand-cart, 
X return from this interesting trip to resume my 
usual tasks. My literary employment during 1830, 

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in connexion with the " Library of Entertaining 
Knowledge," could scarcely be called light, and it 
had been somewhat troublesome. Several manu- 
scripts came into my hands, valuable as materials for 
books, but requiiing an immensity of labour to prune 
them of their superfluities, and interweave passages 
which would impart to them a more artistical cha- 
lucter than they originally presented. Such were 
three volumes written by Mr. James Eennie, entitled 
" Insect Architecture," " Insect Transformations," 
" Insect Miscellanies." His manuscripts contained a 
mass of truly valuable original observations upon the 
habits of insects ; and feeling their value I laboured 
hard to make them more readable, and especially to 
trace those evidences of Design, which lift the mind, 
by details far more entertaining than the inventions 
of romance, to the constant feeling of the Living 
Principle of all things. These volumes were the 
main cause of Mr. fiennie obtaining the honourable 
position of Professor of Zoology, at King's College. 
He was a man of jealous and irritable feelings, and 
had the imprudence to make an invidious attack 
upon some eminent men of science, recklessly 
accusing them of irreligion. Mr. Rennie's new- 
bom zeal had not the effect of advancing him 
in the favour of the authorities of King's CoUege ; 
who, although they differed from the founders of 
the University of London (now University College) 
upon the question of direct religious instmction 
in the classes, were far too able and liberal to join 
in the vulgar prejudices with which science was 
at this period very frequently surrounded. Bather 
to mark the temper of the times, than with a desire 
of drawing attention to my own writings, I give an 

Digitized by 

Ch. VIL] 



extract from my volume of the " Library of Enter- 
taining Knowledge," — "The Elephant, principally 
viewed in relation to Man," which was published 
in 1880. This passage forms the conclusion of a 
chapter on the '"Fossil Remains of Elephants:" — 
" In leading the mind of the reader to the contem- 
plation of those remote periods, whose history, dark 
and imperfect as it may be, is yet written in legible 
characters within the soil on which we tread, it 
may occur to some few that we deserve the re- 
proach of the amiable and pious Cowper, against 
those who — 

' driU and bore 
The solid earth, and from the strata there 
Extract a register, by which we learn 
That he who made it, and revealed its date 
To Moses, was mistaken in its age/ 

The professors of geology have too long been open 
to such reproaches, partly from the misplaced zeal 
with which they attempted to associate an infant 
science with theories crudely conceived, and built up 
without a comprehensive knowledge of a great body 
of facts ; partly from the prejudices of those who 
fancied they saw a moral danger in the pursuit of 
the science itself. But the time is past, we hope 
for ever, when the diligent and modest student of 
Nature, in any of her departments, has to fear the 
same sort of spirit which Galileo had to encounter ; 
and which still, in some Catholic states where in- 
tolerance predominates, holds the sublime discoveries 
of Newton as little better than atheism. Now and 
then, in our own days, an ignorant or a crafty con- 
troversialist attempts to repress the progress of in- 
quiry, by proclaiming that some particular course of 

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scientific invcBtigation leads to irr^gion ; but, in 
her own peaceful and sober courage, true religion 
feels that she has nothing to fear from the utmost 
hardihood of research, and nothing to gain from the 
servile timidity of those who thus exclusively claim 
to be her supporters/'* 

The elections to the new Parliament were over in 
England. The organization of parties under the 
Duke of Wellington was threatened with a speedy 
disiiiption. The Liberals had gained ground in the 
contests. Large constituencies bad manifested, in a 
remarkable manner, that the question of Beferjn in 
Parliament could no longer be dealt with in the 
summary manner in which, three years before, Bir- 
mingham had been denied a member in the place of 
the disfranchised East fietford, Mr. Brougham, afber 
exertions of unparalleled activity, in addressing the 
freeholders half-a-dozen times a day in as many dif- 
ferent places, was triumphantly returned for Yorkshire. 
Parliament met on the 2nd of Novemb^. Li the very 
first moment of debate, he who had become the real 
leader of the House of Commons^the representative 
of a great county instead of a nonunaticm bQiough-«i- 

* Sir J, Emerson Teiment, in his ** Sketches of the ITatnra^ 
History of Ceylon," citing a pafisaj(e Irom my little work, obligingly 
says, " It will be seen that I have quoted repeatedly from this volume, 
because It is the most ccnnpendious and careftd com|»lation with 
which I am acquainted of the infbrmatloii previously e^sti^g 
regarding the elephant. The author incorporates no speculations 
of his own, but has most diligently and agreeably arranged aU the 
ISnets collected by his predecessors." I may add that in exhibitiBg 
the elephant in ^'relation to man," I brought together • body of 
historical facts as to his employment by the nations of tntiquity, 
and by the people of the East in their wars. A most interesting 
French book on this subject by M. St. Amand had not then been 



asserted the oonstitutional right of the Commomi to 
do whatever business they pleased before the consi- 
deration of the Kingfs speech, and gave notice of a 
motion for Beform. In the House of Lords, the 
Duke of Wellington declared that the Legislature 
possessed the full and entire confidence of the 
country, and that he would oppose every measure 
for what was called Befbrm. Then was the land 
agitated by conflicting opinicms, such as had scarcely 
before manifested themselves, with equal intensity, 
for a generation. The declaration of the Duke of 
Wellington, on the 8nd of November, was followed 
by the overthrow of his ministry on the 16th. Sir 
Heniy Famell, who at the dinner at the guinguette 
at Paris wa« denied a seat of honour, was the imme- 
diate instrument of accomplishing this change, by his 
motion on the subject of the Civil List, which left 
the Ministry in a large minority. 

The list of the ministry of England, which appeared 
in the British Almanac for 1831, was made up to the 
15th of November, 1830. In that list Wellington 
was Prime Minister ; Lyndhurst, Lord Chancellor ; 
Gk>ulbum, Chancellor of the Exchequer ; Peel, Home 
Secretary, "Never," says Sidney Smith, "was any 
administration so completely aiui suddenly destroyed.'' 
Had such an immediate destruction been ccmfidently 
anticipated, I doubt whether we should have sent 
forth the Ust in the Society's Almanac, afterwards 
issuing a leaf to be substituted by the purchaser. 
In a week. Grey was Prime Minister ; prougham. 
Lord Chancellor ; Althorp, Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer ; Melbourne, Home Secretary. 

I have mentioned in another place a fact which 
I had known in 1832, and which I could repeat in 

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1862, without any violation of confidence — ^that Lord 
Althorp almost forced the Great Seal upon Mr. 
Brougham, who exclaimed again and again, "What \ 
leave the House of Commons ? " * The Lord Chan- 
cellor's patent had been made out, which obviated 
the temporary necessity of his longer sitting in the 
House of Lords as Speaker without being a Peer. 
Having received a note from Lord Brougham to come 
to his private room in the House of Lords before the 
afternoon meeting of the House, I had a very hurried 
interview. The time was expired for his moving 
into the House. The Mace and Purse were in the 
passage ; anxious ushers were about the door. I 
can only stay to say a word," he exclaimed ; " adver- 
tise Paley to-morrow morning." He rushed along as 
nimbly as that officer of Elizabeth, of whom it was 
said — 

The "panting" Mace-bearer "toiled after him in 
vain.*' I stepped out of the room and saw the 
officials looking somewhat as the royal ushers of 
Versailles might have looked when shoestrings 
heralded the Revolution, and Bastiles and buckles 
were doomed. I ventured to say to one of these 
solemn men in black, "Is that quite regular?" 
— " Eegular, sir ? oh dear ! The last was bad enough, 
but this one ! — Oh dear ! " Chaos was come again. 

I returned home, meditating as I went, upon a 
new example of the versatility of genius. A Lord 
Chancellor who had been only a week on the wool- 
sack — ^perplexed as one might have thought with 

* Popular History of England, vol. riii. p. 265. 

" The grave Lord-Keeper led the brawls.' 



the technicalities of Chancery, with which he was 
unfamiliar — ^the orator upon whom a great party 
mainly relied for carrying through schemes of im- 
provement which were essentially necessary to 
maintain the power which they had won — ^that a man 
so burdened should resolve at the same time singly 
to undertake a labour which was best fitted for the 
abstracted student, seemed to me almost inexplicable. 
And yet the announcement which I sent forth was 
no idle flourish. The plan of the book had been 
conceived a year before, when it was thought that 
Mr. Brougham and several men of science might be 
induced to work together in its production. If I 
recollect rightly, there were some difficulties in com- 
pleting such an arrangement. The sudden resolve of 
December, 1830, cut the knot of this difficulty, and 
so "Paley's Natural Theology, with Notes and an 
Introductory Discourse by Henry Lord Brougham," 
was advertised as in preparation. I had been 
astonished, and so was the world to be. 

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|HE Grey ministrjr came into power sur-* 
rounded by eircumstanceg of domestic 
politics that might well be considered 
alarming. After the harvest of 1830, 
there had broken out in the southern agricultural 
counties what, without exaggeration, may be called 
a servile insurrection. The ignorance of the labour- 
ing population of these districts had become too 
appalling to be any longer concealed under the most 
meagre and unsatisfactory attempts of the gentry 
and the clergy, during the past twenty years, to 
impart the least portion of knowledge to the youngs 
or to evince any care for the condition of the adults 
beyond the grudging bounty of the Poor-rate, and 
an extra dole of bread at Christmas. The thinking 
portion of the population could not forbear to ex- 
claim, — is it not monstrous, in a country which pos- 
sesses endowed schools in every town, which has 
National schools, and Lancasterian schools, and Sun- 
day schools in every village ; and, above all, which 
has ten thousand beneficed clergymen distributed 
over the whole land, that any such state of ignorance 
should exist as would lead to rick-buming and ma- 
chine-breaking ? 

The outrages of the peasantry in many parishes, 
especially of Hampshire, Wiltshire, Kent, Berkshire, 
and Buckinghamshire, had spoken with a voice of 

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terfOf to those who had lulled themselves into a 
shameless neglect of their duty, by the miserable 
belief that in the intellectual darkness of the la- 
bourers Consisted their own security from such 
organizations as the Luddism of manufacturing dis* 
tricts. No vigorous measures had been taken to 
repress the new-bom frenzy of the agricultural slave 
—the successor of the ancient serf (but without the 
protection of his lord)— until, on the 8th of December, 
a drcular was addressed by the recently appointed 
Home Secretary to the magistracy of the various 
counties, calling upon them to act with energy and 
fimmesS) and to yield nothing to intimidation, either 
as respected the demand for a uniform rate of wages 
or the non-employment of thrashing machines. On 
the I8th of December a special commission was 
opened at Winchester, when two hundred and seventy 
persons were arraigned for incendiary acts, or for the 
destruction of mcu3hin6ry. 

The Useful Knowledge Society had, in November, 
commenced the issue of a small series entitled " The 
Working Man's Companion,*' to be published occa- 
sionally, at the price of a shilling. The first volume, 
chiefly prepared by Dr. ConoUy, called "Cottage 
Evenings," was commended by Dr. Arnold, for " its 
plain and sensible tone f but he is hard upon what 
he calls its "cold deism." He is equally severe upon 
" the folly " of a little monthly publication conducted 
I believe by a divine who was afterwards a bishop — 
" The Cottager's Monthly Visitor." At the beginning 
of December I conceived the possibility of addressing 
the labourer and the mechanic upon the subject of 
machinery, by reasoning with tliem without attempt- 
ing the sHghtest distinction between the intellectual 

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capacity of the poor and of the rich ; for in truth 
upon the question whether machinery had not a 
tendency to abridge employment and reduce wages, 
there was nearly as large an amount of error existing 
amongst the middle classes, and even amongst some 
of the upper, as amongst those we were in the habit 
of denominating the working classes. It was not 
likely that a little book of a sober and argumentative 
character which contained no appeals to the passions, 
which rested the strength of its assaults against long 
cherished prejudices upon a battery of facts, brought 
to bear on one most vulnerable point, should save a 
single thrashing machine from the infuriate hand of 
an unreasoning peasant ; but no good seed is utterly 
thrown away, even if it fall at first upon a barren 
soil It would scarcely become me to speak of the 
almost unparalleled success of that volume. Some 
portion of its original popularity may be ascribed to 
the circimistance of its having being attributed, 
without the slightest foundation, to the pen of Lord 
Brougham. Within a month of its publication, at 
the beginning of January, 1831, I received the 
formal thanks of the Useful Knowledge Committee, 
expressed by the chairman of the day, Mr. Spring 
Rice, who said, perhaps somewhat hyperbolically, 
that it had effected more good for the repression of 
outrage than a regiment of horse would have effected 
in any disturbed county. 

The agricultural labourers were not altogether 
given over to an undiscriminating rage in their 
Jacquerie. In the neighbourhood of Aylesbury they 
destroyed all the machinery of many farms down 
even to the common drills, but they could not make 
up their minds as to the propriety of destroying a 

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horse-chum. In the same manner there were 
artisans in many trades who were equally incon- 
sistent in their hostility to machinery. For example : 
The bookbinders of London took a similar excep- 
tional view of what they considered the evil of 
substituting the easier way of getting through work 
for the harder. They objected to a novelty which 
had begun to be generally used by the master book- 
binders. In a paper, dated the 16th December, 
1830, nearly five hundred joumejmaen bookbinders of 
London and Westminster called upon their employers 
to give up the use of a machine for beating books. 
Books, before they were bound in leather, were 
formerly beaten with large hammers upon a stone to 
make them solid. In my little work I said : The 
objection of the bookbinders to the beating-machine 
offers a remarkable example of the inconsistency of 
all such objections. The bookbinders have a machine 
called a plough, for cutting the edges of books, which 
is, probably, as old as the trade itself. A great deal 
of labour and a great deal of material are saved by 
this plough. Why do they not require that a book 
should be cut with a ruler and a penknife ? " The 
journeymen bookbinders, in a pamphlet of thirty 
pages, published a very elaborate reply to my asser- 
tion, that " the greatest blessing ever conferred 
upon bookbinders, as a body, was the introduction 
of this beating (more properly rolling) machine ; 
for it had set at liberty a quantity of mere 
labour, without skill, to fiimish wages to labourers 
with skill." They contended that the number of 
journeymen bookbinders out of employ was rapidly 
on the increase, that the rolling machine was one of 
the great causes of their distress, and that, commi- 


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Crating their evil lot, some of their employers had 
agreed to abandon the machine altogether. It may- 
be thought that I have drawn attention somewhat 
too fully to this instance of short-sightedness on the 
part of an intelligent body of workmen. I have 
done so because the progress of knowledge could not 
have been advanced as it has been during the last 
half century, had the cost of the material production 
of books not gone on at a constant rate of diminu- 
tion, exactly in proportion to the increase of the 
amount of mental labour also required for their pro- 
duction. Bookbinding is now one of the large 
manufactm-es of London, carried on with many 
scientific applications. The journeymen bookbinders 
of 1830, in the metropolis, reckoned their entire 
number as nearly six hundred. In the census of 
occupations of 1861 we find that in the metropolitan 
district there were employed in bookbinding three 
thousand six hundred and ninety-one males and four 
thousand and sixty-three females. This prodigious 
increase of employment has followed the introduc- 
tion of new machines in every department of book- 
binding. "We have rolling-machines to make the 
book solid ; cutting-machines, to supersede the hand- 
labour of the little instrument called a plough ; 
embossing machines, to produce elaborate raised 
patterns on leather or cloth ; embossing presses, to 
give the gilt ornament and lettering. These con- 
trivances, and other similar inventions, have not only 
cheapened books, but have enabled the publisher 
to give them a permanent instead of a temporary 
cover, ornamental as well as useful"* 

Knowledge is Power." 1855. 

Ch. VIII.] 



The " Quarterly Journal of Education " was com- 
menced to be published on the Ist of January, 
1831. Although under the superintendence of the 
Society for the Diflfiision of Useful Knowledge, I bore, 
as publisher, the risk of the undertaking. The con- 
trol of the committee over the various papers was 
professedly confined to a general superintendence. 
Within certain limits it was thought useful to allow 
contributors a free expression of their views. Such a 
work, whose object was to diffuse a fail- and unbiassed 
criticism on establishments for education, and on the 
systems and on the books which constitute their real 
life and existence, was a novelty in this country. 
There had, indeed, been published for some years, in 
London, "The Sunday School Teacher's Magazine 
and Journal of Education," but the plan of the 
work commenced in 1831 was essentially different. 
" It is the opinion of the committee that the general 
education of those classes of the community who, 
£rom their station im society, have the control over 
that of the poorer classes, is the most important 
object to which they can direct their attention. 
They do not intend to neglect either the statistics of 
the education of the poorer classes, or the books 
which are used for their instruction, nor any other 
fact of any kind that coneems so large a part of the 
population. But the education of that class, on which 
depends the education of all the rest, demands their 
especial attention." 

The "Journal of Education" was regularly con- 
tinued during five years. When I stable that its editor 
was Professor Long, whose high qualifications as the 
conductor of any publication requiring learning and 
general information, I have briefly adverted to : and 

H 2 


when I add that it numbered amongst its contributors 
men of such eminence as Dr. Whately, Dr. Thirlwall, 
and Dr. Arnold, with many heads of schools and teach- 
ers engaged in the practical business of instruction, 
it is scarcely necessary to say that the four thousand 
pages of which this work consists embrace a mass of 
information of original value and general interest. 
They have an historical importance, for in the details 
of the systems then prevalent in our universities, our 
public schools, and our establishments for middle-class 
education, it will be seen that enormous efforts have 
been made to repaii- and to reconstruct decayed insti- 
tutions and systems out of harmony with the character 
of the age. There was a great work to be accomplished 
to take the education of all classes out of the hands 
of incompetent and prejudiced instructors, and to free 
the young, upon whose judicious training the welfare 
of another generation would depend, from that dis- 
cipline which united the extremes of laxity and 
severity, and that routine which, relying upon forms, 
so constantly neglected essentials. 

As, from the constitution of the Useful Knowledge 
Society, works on religious subjects were excepted 
from the critical notices which occupied a consider- 
able part of the Journal, so also any infusion of 
party politics into its essays or reviews was carefully 
avoided. There is, however, in the fourth volume a 
review of Austin's " Province of Jurisprudence Deter- 
mined," which admirably draws the line between 
political speculations arising out of party debates, 
and the principles of positive law and government, 
with reference to the introduction of political in- 
struction into the education of youth. That review 
was written by the late Sir George Comewall Lewis, 

Ch. VIII.] 



and it shows how early he had directed his mind to 
the consideration of practical statesmanship under 
its highest philosophical aspects. How true it is, 
even now, in too frequent instances, that "those 
who have been concerned for many years in the 
practical administration of government, in discussing 
the policy of laws, present or future, or in learning 
or arguing upon the contents and provisions of laws, 
hold it an aflfront if any one offers to teach them 
what government or law is, and, confounding familiar 
acquaintance with accurate knowledge, think that 
they understand everything which is not new or 
strange to them." 

The "Journal of Education" was commenced a 
month after the accession of the Grey ministry. At 
the first monthly meeting of the Useful Knowledge 
Committee following the Christmas vacation, our 
table presented a scene which lives in my mind as 
one of national importance. The chambers of the 
society were then in Gray s Inn Square ; but the 
accommodation therein was quite insufficient for 
the company expected at the dinner. We met, 
therefore, at the Gray's Inn Coffee House. I well 
remember talking with Mr. Lubbock about the 
extraordinary spectacle of so many men of political 
importance — cabinet ministera, great officers of 
state and of the law — ^assembled in frank fellow- 
ship with physicians, professors of education, elders 
of science, astronomers and mathematicians just 
rising into note in the world of wider limits than 
Cambridge, and barristers not yet aspiring to silk 
gowns. It was really very striking to observe how, 
as it were, by one simultaneous movement, nearly all 
the committee had come together to hail the triumph 

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of liberal opinions. Not a word was spoken of 
politics. Lord Brougham did not explain how he 
meant to keep his pledge about Reform. Lord John 
Russell gave no hint of the scope of the vital measure 
which the Cabinet was then discussing. It was as 
practical and common-place a proceeding for con- 
firming minutes and voting small sums for authorship 
as I ever witnessed. I am not sure whether any new 
members were elected. I believe it was at another 
meeting that the proposal of Mr. Hume's name as a 
member was evaded by a joke — ^The great economist 
would take the dots oflf the i'a, when a proof came 
under his correction. 

During the month of February one or two came 
within my observation, as intimates of men in power, 
who seemed unusually abstracted or unusually volatile. 
On the 3rd of that month Lord Althorp had informed 
the House of Commons that the Government plan 
for amending the representation of the people would 
be brought forward by Lord John Russell on the 1st 
of March. The few in the secret talked in this 
interim with prodigious fluency upon matters in 
which they felt little interest, like Cinna and Casca 
debating about the exact point of sunrise when their 
minds were stirred with the thought of " the dreadful 
thing" they were to act when the sim had risen. 
The half confidences, the guesses, the hopes an(J the 
fears, the trust and the contempt, which indicated the 
speculative politicians of either side, were to some 
a very significant token that a great crisis was 

It is not for me here to indicate, except in the 
most general manner, the course of parliamentary 
proceedings on the Reform BilL The men of influ- 

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Ch. VIII.] 



ence with whom I was more immediately comiected 
were far too much engaged to give any marked 
attention to the ordinary proceedings of the Useful 
Knowledge Society. In the course of the first stage 
of the Beform measure there were remarkable separa- 
tions of ancient friends, and as remarkable unions 
between men who had been of opposite opinions. 
Mr. Macaulay had taken a most distinguished posi- 
tion, in the very earliest debates of the session. Mr. 
Praed, whose youthful prepossessions, if not convic- 
tions, were perhaps even stronger than Mr. Macaulay's, 
was diametrically opposed to him ; and yet I could 
not admit that Praed's maturer opinions were the 
results of a want of principle, or not feel that he was 
ungenerously dealt with when one who had been his 
contemporary in the university, himself taking rank 
as a man of genius, a poet and a novelist, cast 
reproaches upon him in Parliament for his opinions 
when an under-graduate. Yet I could scarcely have 
expected in those early days df the struggle for 
Reform that I should have met Mr. Croker and Mr. 
Praed walking arm-in-arm in the Strand, and each 
giving me a firiendly nod as I passed them. Public 
men had very soon taken their sides in this great 
contest, and so indeed had the great body of the 
middle classes. The majority, however, when they 
met in the meetings which were held in almost every 
parish vociferated : " The Bill, the whole Bill, and 
nothing but the Bill." During eight weeks of intense 
excitement, the popiilar cause was gradually attaining 
strength without doors, but the opponents of the 
Government were as steadily gaining ground in 
divisions upon which the question of a violent or a 
peaceful revolution depended. At length the king 

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consented to dissolve Parliament under circumstances 
of which Lord Campbell truly writes, that the scenes 
within the Houses " might convey an adequate idea 
of the tumultuary dissolutions in the times of the 
Stuarts." There was an illumination in London, with 
a disgraceful but harmless exhibition of mob violence. 
Windows were broken, amongst others those of the 
Duke of Wellington, and the great captain thought 
it prudent to give his mansion of Apsley House 
something like the aspect of a beleagured fortress. 

The results of the elections throughout the country 
materially strengthened the popular cause. On the 
24th of June, Lord John Russell again obtained leave 
to bring in the Reform Bill. It finally passed in the 
House of Commons on the 21st of September. After 
five nights of debate, unsurpassed in the annals of the 
English Parliament for the utterances of men who 
were indeed " the top of eloquence," the House of 
Lords rejected the Bill by a majority of forty-one. 
Parliament was again prorogued. Riot and outrage 
at Derby, and the burning of Nottingham Castle, 
clouded the hopes of all honest men of either party 
that the great question might be settled without 
violence. It was not to be so. 

During the proceedings in Parliament of that 
eventful autumn, I had been occupied in writing a 
little book that was in some degree a supplement 
to " The Results of Machinery." It was originally 
called "The Rights of Industry;" but is better 
known by its second title, " Capital and Labour." 
It was especially addressed to working men, to ex- 
hibit their rights in connexion with their duties by 
proving that the interests of every member of society, 
properly understood^ are one and the same. " The 

Ch. VIII.] 



more," I said, " that you perfect in yourselves the 
character of industrious, temperate, intelligent, and 
orderly members of the community, the more you 
will advance the interests of the great nation of 
which you form so important a part, — and the 
more you will succeed in obtaining a full share 
of those national blessings which are the invariable 
results of Security of Property and Freedom of 
Industry, established in their just relations to each 
other by equal laws. Whatever is wanting to the 
perfection of that balance, must be won by your own 
steady advancement in knowledge and virtue." * It 
had become a matter of grave necessity that from 
some influential source, such as that of the Useful 
Knowledge Society, should go forth a popular ex- 
position of the cardinal points of political economy, 
as far as related to the Production of Wealth. The 
questions regarding its Distribution were reserved 
for another possible treatise ; but at this time the 
complicated problem of that Distribution was pro- 
posed to be solved by pretended teachers of political 
economy, who were ranting in popular assemblies 
about the unequal allotment of riches, and proposing 
schemes for the " division of property," whose absur- 
dity rendered them in some degree more dangerous 
at a time when many of the uneducated were moved 
rather by passion than by reason. But there was a 
class in the very lowest depths of ignorance, who 
were incapable of exercising their reasoning powers, 
either for good or for evil, upon any abstract question 
of the relations which held society together in mutual 
rights, duties, and interests. It was this class that 

♦ Introduction, p. 9. 


burnt Bristol on the 29th of October. " Capital and 
Labour " was ready for publication, when this event 
called for a conclusion of the treatise, in which I 
appealed to the great body of the working men of 
our country, each in his own circle, to put down that 
ignorant spirit which would make this temple of 
our once industrious and peaceful island a den of 
thieves. I thus wrote : 

" When the ignorance of great masses of people is 
manifested by the light of a burning city, the records 
of that ignorance remain, in ruins which attest the 
hideous force of lawless violence. If the restraints 
of order are again set up, the ruins are cleared away ; 
and, slowly, perhaps, but certainly, capital again 
ventures forth to repair the destruction which a 
contempt of its rights had produced. But let the 
spirit of violence long continue to exist in sullen 
contests with the laws, or in causeless jealousy of 
the possessors of property, and the spuit of decay 
is established. Then begins a silent but certain 
cai-eer of destruction, more sweeping and wide- 
spreading than all the havoc that civil war upon 
the most fearful scale has ever produced. Houses 
are no longer burnt, but they become untenanted ; 
manufactories are no longer pulled down, but the 
sound of labour is heard no more within their 
walls ; bams are no longer plundered to distri- 
bute their stores, but the fields are not sown which 
were wont to produce those stores; roads are no 
longer rendered impassable by hostile bands, but 
the traffic which once supported them has ceased; 
canals and rivers are not dry, but their waters are 
mantled over with weeds, for the work of communi- 
cation is ended ; harbours and docks are not washed 



away by the sea, but the ships that once spread their 
sails for every comer of the earth lie idly within 
their bosoms, rotting ' sheer hulks,' abandoned to the 
destruction ef the wind and the wave. In the mean- 
time, while all this silent decay goes forward, and 
many a mouldering pile prodaims that the reign of 
justice is at an end, the people are continuing to 
perish from the face of the land. Famine and pesti- 
lence sweep away their prey by thousands ; and the 
robber who walks abroad at noon-day selects his 
victims from the few who still struggle to hide a 
miserable remnant of former abundance. At length 
tranquillity is established — ^but it is the tranquillity of 
death. The destroyers have done their work ; 

They make a solitude, and call it peace.* 

These, assuredly, would be the consequences of fol- 
lowing the blind guides that would break down the 
empire of property. These advocates of your ' rights ' 
would give you weeds instead of com, skins instead 
of cloth, hollow trees instead of houses ; and when 
you had gone back to the * freedom ' of savage life, 
and each of the scattered tenants of a country covered 
with the mins of former wealth, could exclaim 'I 
am lord of the fowl and the brute,' these ministers 
of desolation would be able to sing their triumphal 
song of 'Labour defended against the claims of 
Capital,' amid the shriek of the jackal and the howl 
of the wolf." t 

♦ Byron ; who translates the passage literally from Tacitus. 

t "Capital and Labour," p. 211. Edition, November, 1831. 
I should not have introduced this passage, which has especial 
reference to a condition of ignorance happily passed away, had it 

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The November of 1831 was a time of national 
dismay far more intense than any alarm that mob- 
violence could produce in a coimtry of settled law 
and government. The Cholera-morbus had come to 
England. Cases terminating fatally had been re- 
ported at Sunderland, and on the 6th of November 
the people were kneeling in the churches to join in an 
authorised form of prayer — " Lord turn away from 
us that grievous calamity against which our only 
security is in Thy compassion." The contagion con- 
tinued to spread throughout the country until, in the 
middle of February, 1832, cases of cholera were first 
observed in London. My family were then living at 
Hampstead, and I had frequently to go to London 
by the stage-coach. The conversation of the pas- 
sengers was naturally of a melancholy cast, as indeed 
was that of aU persons in public places or in private 
circles. The disputes and animosities arising out of 
the Reform Bill seemed to be forgotten. Instances 
daily presented themselves as the theme of sorrowful 
and serious reflection : how the Deputy of a certain 
Ward had been dining with his Company the day 
before and was dead in the next afternoon ; how 
another citizen had been taken ill during a journey 
to the north, and had died at an inn with no relative 
or friend to receive his last wishes. Examples were 
given of the impartiality with which the great 
Leveller performed his work. Some thought that the 
establishment of a General Board of Health was a 
wise measure; others that it would be useless, for 
this new Plague must run its course. Many took 

not been omitted in the volume founded upon the "Results of 
Machinery" and "Capital and Labour," entitled "Knowledge is 

Digitized by 

Ch. VIII.] 




that selfish view of their own safety which had been 
recommended by a periodical writer — ^to isolate them- 
selves entirely from their neighbours, send away all 
superfluous servants, lay in a large store of provisions, 
and wait the visitation in gloomy security. 

The great body of the British people were of a 
nobler temper. The rich did not shrink from their 
duty to the poor; the minister of religion did not 
hesitate to go fearlessly into the most filthy and pest- 
breeding districts, to utter the sacred words of hope 
and comfort; the physician, in this dread assault 
of a new and mysterious enemy, would rather have 
been the foremost of a forlorn hope, to encounter 
many " 'scapes in the imminent deadly breach," where 
the victims were lying in heaps, than sit in his easy- 
ehair to wait for the fees of frightened great ones. 
This visitation left the people sadder and wiser. 
They learnt the value of some of the great principles 
upon which the public health depended, and from 
that time there grew up a respect for sanitary regu- 
lations which had once been scouted as absurd and 
eflfeminate. In the series of the "Working Man's 
Companion" we did not neglect the occasion for com- 
bating popular errors of a social character, of incul- 
cating the great private duties of cleanliness and 
temperance as regarded ourselves and our families, 
and of active benevolence and sympathy for our 
fellow-creatures. Dr. Conoliy s little book on Cholera 
was a model of what a popular treatise on the pre- 
servation of health ought to be — ^not leading the 
delicate and the hypochondriacal to fancy they can 
prescribe for themselves in real iUness; not under- 
valuing medicine, but showing how rarely is medicine 
necessary when the laws of nature are not habitually 

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yiolated Of the fibtal epidemic that had come 
amongst us this wise and kind physician spoke 
with confidence of its speedy removal, under God's 
providence, in a condition of society where the prin- 
ciples of cordial brotherhood should more prevail 
than the miserable suggestions of selfish exclusive- 
ness; where in £act the safety of the upper classes 
depended upon the well-being of the lower. From 
the permanent blessing of that cholera-time — a. 
blessing which it left behind instead of a curse — ^it 
grew, that the public health became one of the chief 
cares of the Government. A machinery was gradually 
organized, under which the effects of any pest can be 
removed or mitigated ; and, what is of more import- 
ancOy that the constantly present causes of disease 
should be grappled with — ^that typhus should be pre- 
vented as sedulously as cholera. Thus it has arisen, 
out of the calamity of 1831, that the whole body of 
the people have been elevated in their condition, and 
that the duration of life [in England has reached an 
average which the Tables of Mortality of the last 
generation could not contemplate. 

Parliament had re-assembled in the first week of 
December, and on the 12th Lord John Russell intro- 
duced a new bill for Parliamentary Reform. The 
first and second bills had been founded upon the 
census of 1821, in regulating the disfranchising 
clauses of boroughs with reference to the amount of 
the population. The results of the Census of 1831 
were now to furnish a much safer guide. In addi- 
tion to this essential change, the boundaries of ^ many 
towns were carefully surveyed, and populous districts 
were included in boroughs, of which they had pre- 
viously formed no portion. The superintendence of 

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this most important operation was confided to Lieu- 
tenant Thomas Drummond, of the Royal Engineers. 
He had been previously distinguished, when a very 
young man, by his beautiful invention of what is now 
known as the Drunmiond Light, which was of material 
use in the survey of Ireland, wherein he was employed. 
Lord Brougham, it is said, had a hard battle to fight 
in the Cabinet to carry his point of intrusting the 
responsibility of arranging the boundaries of boroughs 
to one unaccustomed to administi*ative functions. 
But Lieutenant Drummond's eminent abihties fully 
vindicated the perseverance of the Chancellor. I saw 
little during the passing of the Reform Bill of him 
who had won this confidence ; but I had frequent 
communications with him when he became Lord 
Althorp's private secretary. No one who had busi- 
ness with him could fail to see the quickness of his 
perceptions, and the soundness of his judgment. 
Becoming Under-Secretary for Ireland, in 1835, he 
seemed, in his comprehensive plans for railways and 
for sodal improvements arising out of them, to bid 
fiEur to become the true Liberator of the sister island^ 
who would build her happiness upon the cultivation 
of her great material resources. His death, in 1840, 
cut short this hope. The Reform Bill, thus improved 
in its machinery but rendered less effective, some 
thought, in its vital changes, was passed in the House 
of Commons, on the 19th of March. The bill was 
then passed in the Lords by a majority of nine ; but 
it soon became manifest that its efficacy would be 
materially impaired as it went through the com- 
mittee. Ministers were in a minority in that com- 

A crisis had come. The King refused to create 

Digitized by 


peers, and Lord Grey resigned. For one week the 
country was almost without a government. It was 
understood that the Duke of Wellington had failed 
in forming an administration which would adopt 
some comprehensive measure of Reform according to 
the wish of the King. In a week Lord Grey was 
again in power. But that interval was one of in- 
tense apprehension in London, and of more feais 
of popular outbreaks in the great provincial towns. 
When it was heard that a regiment of cavalry quar- 
tered at Birmingham had employed the Sunday in 
sharpening their swords, it was time for aU good men 
to strive to avert the omen of a bloody revolution, 
instead of a peaceful Reform. The compromise by 
which this good was effected was such as the long 
training of Englishmen in political contests, which do 
not mean civil war, could alone have accomplished. 
The Reform Bill became the law of the land. 

The Parliament was dissolved. A new Pai*liament 
was to be elected upon a broader basis. Large bodies 
of men throughout the country were to participate in 
the franchise, and for the first time to put on the 
rights and duties of electors. Everywhere there were 
candidates giving pledges. Everywhere electors new 
to the office had to learn the difference between 
representatives and delegates. Then was called forth 
aU the mysterious machinery by which, in ancient 
cities and boroughs, elections had been wont to be 
carried. For myself, I had never taken any part in 
civic proceedings, but having met Sir John Key, the 
Lord Mayor, at a public dinner, he asked me when 
the company was separating, to go with him where I 
might witness a curious scene. At a tavern of no 
very elevated character, near the King's printing 

Ch. VIII.] 



oflSce, we were ushered up-stairs. The door of a 
large room was thrown open ; the waiter shouted out 
" The Lord Mayor ; " there was a violent rapping of 
tables, but nothing could be seen, for a dense cloud 
of tobacco-smoke filled the whole space. Sir John 
Key was led to a place of dignity, and I was seated 
at a crowded table. As the smoke cleared away I 
saw a well-known tailor of Fleet Street elevated on 
a chair of state, with a silver chain I'ound his neck. 
On his right hand sat Mr. Grote, the eminent 
banker, and now more eminent historian. Sir John 
Key was placed on the chairman's left hand They 
were the Liberal candidates for the City. I was soon 
made acquainted with the nature of the honourable 
society into which I was thrown, for, with all due 
formalities, I was made a member of the Lumber 
Troop, in whose records could be traced, I was assured, 
their origin at the time of the Spanish Armada, as 
an integral portion of the Train Bands. This dis- 
tinguished corps had not to go forth, as of old, 
^igainst the fierce Rupert in his march upon 
London ; their duty was to preserve such an organi- 
sation as would give them a voice potential in the 
representation of the City, which power I might be 
assured they would be ever ready, as at the present 
time, to exercise in the cause of freedom and of pro- 
gress. It was not for me to express my belief that a 
little honest conviviality might have had as much 
effect in keeping them together, as»^any abstract de- 
votion to the high principle by which the Londoners 
had of old maintained their liberties. 


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jHE amended Reform Bill was passing 
through Committee in the House of 
Commons in February, 1832. Thei-e 
seemed to be little doubt that a Minis- 
terial majority would be too strong in the Lower 
House to allow any re-actionary measure in the 
House of Lords to be successful The new Govern- 
ment officials were settling themselves to the 
discharge of their administrative duties as if a long 
and quiet possession of place had been won. On the 
13th of Februaiy, I received a note from Lord 
Auckland, the President of the Board of Ti-ade^ 
expressing his desire for a few minutes' conversation 
with me in the course of the afternoon. "The inter- 
view was a very brief one, but its importance to me 
was not to be measured by its duration. The 
Cabinet Minister offered me a new office, which it 
was proposed to create at the Board of Trade, for 
digesting and arranging Parliamentary and other 
official documents for the information of members of 
the Government, and possibly for publication. This 
duty would have involved a regular attendance at 
Whitehall ; the salary proposed was not a tempting 
one ; but the offer seemed to open the way for a 
more ambitious career than that of a publisher, I 
requested time for deliberation. Having consulted 
a distinguished friend, he advised me to decline the 

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proposal, however flattering. Lord Auckland was 
surprised but not displeased at my rejection of his 
iind overture. He asked me to recommend some 
gentleman fitted for the post. There was one with 
whom I had recently formed an acquaintance, Mr. 
George Richardson Porter. He had written a paper on 
life Assurance for the " Companion to the Almanac," 
and he was the author of a volume on the Silk 
Manufacture, published in Lardner^s "Cyclopaedia." 
Mr. Porter received the appointment The experi- 
ment was perfectly successful, and much of its 
success may be attributed to the ability and industry 
of him whom, so fortunately for the public good, I 
had recommended. Mr. Poi-ter became the head of 
the statistical department of the Board of Trade, and 
in 1841 he was promoted to be one of the joint- 
secretaries of that board. Till the time of his 
lamented death in 1852, we were mutually attached 
friends, and he was one of the most valuable con- 
tributors to several of my publications. 

Had I accepted the appointment of the Board of 
Trade in that February, it is probable that the whole 
course of my future life would have been changed. 
It was upon the cards that either I should have 
been sitting in an office at Whitehall from ten till 
four, cramming Ministers and Members of Par- 
liament with statistical facts, or become identified 
with the most successful experiment in popular 
literature that England had seen. On March 31st, 
1832, appeared the first number of "The Penny 
Magazine of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful 

In a debate in the House of Commons on the 22nd 
of May, 1834, on a motion for the Repeal of the 

K 2 

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Stamp Duty on Newspapers, Mr. M. D. Hill, then 
member for HuU, in reply to Mr. Bulwer who moved 
the Repeal, thus described the origin of that work : 
"The Honourable Gentleman was pleased to cha- 
racterize ' The Penny Magazine,' as affording a 
trumpery education to the people, because he says it 
deals in accounts of birds and insects, and such 
matters. I certainly was a little astonished to find 
my Honourable Triend scout an insight into the 
wonders of creation, as a trumpery affair. I should 
be sorry if his designation of that little work were 
correct, because the blame of its existence rests with 
myself, it being a project of my own ; neither am I 
innocent of the course it has pursued ; which from 
first to last has had, and still has, my hearty con- 
currence." The circumstances connected with this 
"project'* were these. The town in that time of 
political excitement abounded with unstamped weekly 
publications, which in some degree came under the 
character of contraband newspapers, and were nearly 
all dangerous in principle and coarse in language. 
Mr. HiU and I were neighbours on Hampstead 
Heath, and as we walked to town on a morning of 
the second week in March, our talk was of these 
cheap and offensive publications. "Let us," he 
exclaimed, " see what something cheap and good can 
accomplish! Let us have a Penny Magazine!'' 
" And what shaQ be its title ? " said L "The Penny 
Magazine." We went at once to the Lord Chan- 
cellor. He cordially entered into the project. A 
committee of the Society was called, and such a 
publication was decided upon after some hesitation. 
There was a feeling amongst a few that a penny 
weekly sheet would be below the dignity of the 

Ch. IX.] 



Society. One gentleman of the old Whig school, 
who had not originally belonged to the Committee, 
said again and again, " It is very awkward." Lord 
Brougham, however, was not accustomed to let 
awkward things stand much in his way. "The 
Penny Magazine" was decided upon. I undertook 
the risk of the publication, and was appointed to be 
its editor. The task was not a very easy one in the 
onset, for it was impossible to say, before the issue of 
a few numbers, whether the periodical sale would be 
twenty thousand or a hundred thousand, and whether 
a large demand would be a permanent one. It was 
therefore necessary to have a due regard to economy; 
and thus the attraction of expensive woodcuts could 
scarcely be ventured upon in the early days of the 
experiment. It was imperative also to proceed very 
cautiously in treading near the ill-defined line that 
separated the essayist from the newspaper writer, 
I have a letter before me from the Solicitor of Stamps, 
in which he says he has perused the specimen 
numbers (1 and 2) of the Magazine intended to be 
published by the Society, and that he sees nothing 
in these numbers that will render the publication 
liable to stamp duty. So I went confidently to my 
work. Perhaps no circumstance gave me greater 
encouragement than a letter from Francis Place, who 
knew more about the working classes, and had 
probably more influence with them, than any man in 
London. He describes his pleasure at seeing the 
prospectus. He begs me to let him have a quantity, 
which he would cause " to be usefully dispersed in 
the houses of call for journeymen, in workshops, and 
factories." Mr. Place united to his business of 
master-tailor, at Charing Cross, an intense devotion 


to all the leading questions of politics that had been 
agitating the world since the time of the French 
Eevolution. His collection of contemporary pam- 
phlets was as extensive and complete as any man 
could have formed. I believe it was dispersed at 
his death, but it ought to have gone to the British 

The excellent Dr. Arnold, some months after the 
''Penny Magazine" had appeared, described it as 
"all ramble-scramble." It was meant to be so — ^to 
touch rapidly and lightly upon many subjects. In 
the introductory article of the first number, I wrote : 
"Whatever tends to enlarge the range of observa- 
tion, to add to the store of &cts, to awaken the 
reason, and to lead the imagination into agreeable 
and innocent trains of thought, may assist in the 
establishment of a sincere and ardent desire for 
information ; and in this point of view our little 
miscellany may prepare the way for the reception of 
more elaborate and precise knowledge, and be as the 
small optic^glass called the finder, which is placed by 
the side of a large telescope, to enable the observer 
to discover the star which is afterwards to be care- 
folly examined by the more perfect instrument" I 
certainly never received any more striking testimony 
to the usefulness of the '^ramble-scramble" in 
supplying a want to those who were striving to gain 
knowledge, but who were too poor to buy books, 
than the following passage in the " Autobiography 
of an Artisan," published in 1847- Christopher 
Thomson, the author of this interesting book, had 
settled as a house-painter at Edwinstowe, a village 
in Nottinghamshire :— " Squatting down here penni- 
less, without a table or. three-legged stool to fomish 

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a cottage "with, it may easily be imagined that I had 
tough work of it. My great want was books ; I was 
too poor to purchase expensive ones, and the ' cheap 
literature' was not then, as now, to be found in 
every out-o -the-way nooking. However, Knight had 
unfurled his paper banners of free trade in lettera 
The 'Penny Magazine' was published — borrowed 
the first volume, and determined to make an effort 
to possess myself with the second ; accordingly, with 
January, 1833, 1 determined to discontinue the use 
of sugar in my tea, hoping that my family would not 
then feel the sacrifice necessary to buy the book. 
Since {hat period, I have expended laige sums in 
books, some of them very costly ones, but I never 
had one so truly valuable as was the second volume 
of the ' Penny .Magazine ;' and I looked as anxiously 
for the issue of the monthly part as I did for the 
means of getting a living." This then was the 
service which the ''Penny Magazine " was rendering, 
at the beginning of 1832, to the general cause of 
letters. I must associate with it " Chambers' Edin- 
burgh Journal," a publication which was established 
a few weeks before mine. They were making readers. 
They were raising up a new class, and a much larger 
class than previously existed, to be the purchasers of 
books. They were planting the commerce of books 
upon broader foundations than those upon which it 
had been previously built. They were relegating 
the hole-and-corner literature of the days of exclu- 
siveness to the rewards which the few could furnish ; 
preparing the way for writers and booksellers to reap 
the abundant harvest when the " second rain " of 
knowledge should be descending "uninterrupted, 
unabated, unbounded ; fertilizing some grounds and 

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overflowing others ; changing the whole form of 
social life." * 

The success of the "Penny Magazine" was an 
astonishment to most persons ; I honestly confess it 
was a surprise to myself. It was not till the autumn 
that an attempt was made by the means of woodcuts 
to familiarise . the people with great works of art. 
Then were presented to them engravings of a costly 
character, of such subjects as the Laocoon, the Apollo 
Belvedere, the Cartoons, and the great Cathedrals, 
British and Foreign. At the end of 1832, the 
"Penny Magazine" had reached a sale of 200,000 
in weekly numbers and monthly parts. In the pre- 
face to the first volume, under the date of December 
the 18th, I thus wrote : — " It was considered by 
Edmund Burke, about forty years ago, that there 
were 80,000 readers in this country. In the present 
year it has been shown, by the sale of the ' Penny 
Magazine,' that there are 200,000 purchasers of one 
periodical work. It may be fairly calculated that 
the number of readers of that single work amoimts 
to a million. If this incontestable evidence of the 
spread of the ability to read be most satisfactory, it 
is stiU more satisfactory to consider the species of 
reading which has had such an extensive and increas- 
ing popularity. In this work there has never been a 
single sentence that could inflame a vicious appetite ; 
and not a paragraph that could minister to prejudices 
and superstitions which a few years since were com- 
mon. There have been no excitements for the lovers 
of the marvellous — no tattle or abuse for the grati- 
fication of a diseased taste for personality, and, above 
all, no party politics." 

♦Scott. "Quentin Durward." 

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Ch. IX.] 



Although the " Penny Magazine " has a peculiar 
interest as a subject of literary history, it would be 
tedious if I were to attempt any minute notice of 
its contributors ; but I may mention a few whose 
names occur to me as I turn over its early pages. 
There were members of the Committee who had a 
very just conception of what writing for the people 
meant. An article by Mr. Long, in the seventh 
number, on the value of a penny, is as clear and im- 
pressive as any statement from the pen of Cobbett. 
Mr. De Morgan wrote mathematical papers, in which 
the rationale of Fractions was exhibited, and the 
fallacy of such notions as squaring the circle was 
pointed out. Mr. Craik could be depended upon for 
enlightened as well as familiar expositions of the 
value of standard works, under the head of "The 
Library." Mr. Charles Macfarlane, of whom I shall 
have subsequently to speak, wrote most amusing 
accounts of his travelling experiences. There were 
authors not regularly engaged as contributors, who 
famished valuable papers of marked ability. I had 
been in the habit of familiar intercourse with Allan 
Cunningham, even before the time when he wrote 
a paper in the "Quarterly Magazine.'! For the 
" Penny Magazine " he furnished a series of articles 
on "The Old English Ballads." I must not omit to 
mention the interesting relations of his South African 
.experience, contributed by Thomas Pringle, one of the 
most amiable of men, with whom I had cultivated 
something higher than mere intimacy, when our 
friendly relations were cut short by his death in 
1834. His biography of Sir Walter Scott, was called 
forth by the great novelist's lamented death on the 
21st of September, 1832. It occupied an entire 



number of the "Peimy Magazine/' and contains 
some valuable facts regarding Mr. Pringle's personal 
intimacy with Scott in 1819. 

It may not be without an interest of no transient 
nature that I proceed to notice the beginnings of my 
intercourse with a man who left his mark upon his 
time, but who, when I first knew him, was not only 
under the check of " poverty's imconquerable bar," but 
was 8u£Fering under a great physical privation which 
appeared likely to disqualify him for any prosperous 
career in life. On the 18th of July, 1833, a short 
stout man, of about thirty years of age, presented 
himself to me at my place of business in Ludgate 
Street, to which premises, nearer the great hive of 
" the Trade " I had found it indispensable to remove. 
He tendered me a note from Mr. Coates, at the same 
time uttering some strange sounds, which could 
scarcely be called articulate. The few lines of intro- 
duction said that the bearer, Mr. Elitto, laboured 
under the misfortune of nearly absolute deafiiess, 
and that I must therefore communicate with him in 
writing. Mr. Coates enclosed me a letter from Mr. 
Woollcombe, the chairman of our local committee 
at Plymouth. That letter is now before me, dated 
the 10th of July. This gentleman — ^who appears to 
have been peculiarly fitted, by his compassion for 
misfortune and his sympathy with talent, to rescue 
a pauper boy from the misery and degradation of a 
parish workhouse — pleaded the claims of the un- 
known John Kitto for literary employment in a way 
so interesting that I cannot hesitate to transcribe his 
words : " He is a native of this town, and became 
known to us by his misfortunes, as a lad of extra- 
ordinary capacity, though reduced by the vices of 



his &ther to the condition of an inhabitant of our 
workhouse^ and by an accident to an almoet entire 
loss of the sense of hearing. He has subsequently 
been employed as a printer at Malta, by a religious 
society. But he is now just returned from a resi- 
dence of some years at Bagdad ; having embarked 
£com England for Petersbuig, and descended from 
thence through Russia to Moscow and other towns, 
entering Persia by the Desert ; of that country he 
has acquired considerable information, which he is 
ready to communicate through your publications. 
He returned to England in June last. * ♦ * 
His appearance is not prepossessing ; his deafness i^ 
somewhat embarrassing ; his talents are considerable, 
memory retentive, observation quick, and undivided 
as other men's are. EQs life is a series of extra- 
ofdinaiy incidents, such as one is unwilling to ac- 
knowledge as being natural I laugh and tell him 
the world is to be now indebted to two Devonshire 
men for the information it is to receive of distant 
countries. The one a blind man (Lieut. Holman), 
who is to publish what he has seen in his progress 
round the world. And (John Eitto) a deaf man, of 
what he has heard in Persia ! " 

I may have had something like an anticipation 
of this poor man's future eminence, judging from the 
unusual care with which I appear to have preserved 
some memoranda of our intercourse. I find a paper 
dated July the 21st, headed " Conversation with Mr. 
Kitto," of which the following is the substance of 
half a dozen pages of my notes. I asked him what 
European languages he knew. He said Italian, 
French perfectly, not German. He had proposed a 
new project, into which I thought the Society would 

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not at present enter ; but, I should be glad to en- 
deavour to arrange for his employment in the " Penny 
Magazine and " Penny Cyclopaedia.'' I asked if he 
could undertake to give a personal narrative of his 
travels in Persia. That would show what he could 
do, and he might be afterwards engaged on geogra- 
phical articles for the Cyclopsedia," requiiing more 
precise and systematic information. I then arranged 
with him to furnish a few articles of the nature I 
had mentioned, to be paid for at the rate of a guinea 
and a half a page. And so John Kitto, the future 
Biblical critic and commentator, went away per- 
fectly happy, to produce the first number of "The 
Deaf Traveller," which appeared in "The Penny 
Magazine" of the 10th of August. A month of 
experiment had passed, and I then engaged Kitto 
at a regular salary, to work in my own room in Fleet 
Street. I could thus assist him whenever he had 
any question to propose, and to me he was no inter- 
ruption, for our golden silence was rarely broken. 
He writes to a friend on the 18th of August, after 
he had been regularly employed for a week : — " I 
have little doubt that, through Mr. Knight's indul- 
gence, I shall be able to keep this situation; the 
rather, as whatever spare time * The Penny Maga- 
zine' does not require, is spent in perfecting my 
knowledge of French and Italian, and in acquiring 
the Grerman. I do thank God for' this relief from a 
state of great anxiety, in which I had begun to 
entertain the most melancholy view of the things 
before me, and saw possible consequences that I 
could not bear steadily to contemplate." Sitting, as 
be describes, " in Mr. Kjoight's room, with plenty of 
books about me, and more below," authors, printers. 


country agents, and other men of business come and 
go to impait something to my private ear. They 
addressed me in whispers, when they saw a somewhat 
dwarfish man of sallow complexion, bright eyes, and 
lofty forehead, sitting close to my table at a separate 
desk, writing incessantly. To some he might have 
looked as a very suspicious person, who was placed 
there to note down their conversation. They soon 
became accustomed to this companionship, and learnt 
that he would be the most faithful depository of their 
spoken secrets, whether they were to roar as loud as 
Bully Bottom when he desired to play the lion, or 
spake "in a monstrous little voice," as when the 
same actor of all-work would have played " Thisby 

It appears from the correspondence of Di\ Arnold, 
that in the early stages of " The Penny Magazine " 
he felt a strong desire to see something of the reli- 
gious spirit imparted to the works of the Useful 
Knowledge Society. His views upon the subject 
were so just and reasonable, that it is to me a matter 
of the deepest regret that I was never brought into 
direct communication with him in my editorial 
capacity. He says : " It does seem to me as forced 
and unnatural in us now to dismiss the principles of 
the Gospel and its great motives from our conversa- 
tion, — as is done habitually, for example, in Miss 
Edgeworth's books, — as it is to fill our pages with 
Hebraisms, and to write and speak in the words and 
style of the Bible. The slightest touches of Chris- 
tian principle and Christian hope in the Society's 
biographical and historical articles would be a sort 
of living salt to the whole ; and would exhibit that 
union which I never will consent to think unattain- 

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able, between goodness and wisdom ; between every- 
thing that is manly, sensible, and free, and every- 
thing that is pure and self-denying, and humble, and 
heavenly/' * Dr. Arnold's strong desire was that of 
being able to co-operate with a body which he " be- 
lieved might, with God's blessing, do more good of 
all kinds, political, intellectual, and spiritual, than 
any other society in existence." f He was anxious, 
he wrote, " to fiimish them regularly with articles of 
the kind that I desire." For myself I can distinctly 
state that no expression of such a desire ever reached 
me ; nor do I know that any communication to such an 
effect was ever formally put before the sub-committee 
fojr " The Penny Magazine." Dr. Arnold's nephew, 
Mr. John Ward, a solicitor in Bedford Row, to whom 
he writes in 1832, about " your Useful Kjiowledge 
Society Committee," was a member of that commit- 
tee, and he contributed some very useful but rather 
dry " Statistical Notes" to " The Penny Magaadna" 
These certainly were not calculated to carry out Dr. 
Arnold's views. But he himself has borne the most 
cordial testimony to one circumstance in the conduct 
of " The Penny Magazine," which shows that there 
was no settled purpose to exclude from that work 
"the slightest touches of Christian principle." I 
have said with reference to the religious articles of 
the " Plain Englishman," that Dr. Arnold wrote in 
terms of somewhat extravagant commendation of a 
short article on Mirabeau which I had written." J 
The letter was to Mr. Tooke, the treasurer of the 

* " Life and Correspondence," vol. i. p. 274. 

+ Ibid., p. 275. 

t Passages, " voL L p. 248. 

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Society, and for the sake of clearing up this im- 
portant question of principle, I must quote the pas- 
sage to which I referred. " I cannot tell you how 
much I was delighted by the conclusion of an article 
on Mirabeau, in ' The Penny Magazine ' of May 12. 
That article is exactly a specimen of what I wished 
to see, but done far better than I could do it. I 
never wanted articles on religious subjects half so 
much as articles on common subjects written with a 
decidedly Christian tone. History and Biography 
are far better vehicles of good, I think, than any 
direct comments on Scripture, or essays on Evi- 
dences."* The conclusion of the article to which 
Dr. Arnold refers, is as follows: — ^"The career of 
Mirabeau offera a few consolatory remarks to those 
who are gifted with no extraordinary faculties, either 
for good or for evil Mirabeau swayed the destinies 
of millions, but he was never happy ; Mirabeau had 
almost reached the pinnacle of human power, and 
yet he fell a victim to the same evil passions which 
degrade and ruin the lowest of mankind. He could 
never be really great, because he was never freed 
from the bondage of his own evil desires. The man 
who steadily pursues a consistent course of duty, 
which has for its object to do good to himself and to 
all around him, will be followed to the grave by a 
few humble and sincere mourners, and no record will 
remain except in the hearts of those who loved him, 
to tell of his earthly career. But that man may 
gladly leave to such as Mirabeau the music, the 
torches, and the cannon, by which a nation 
proclaimed its loss; for assuredly he has felt that 

* *^Life and Corresfpondence,*' toL i. p. 299. 

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inward consolation, and that sustaining hope through- 
out his life, which only the good can feel ; he 
has fully enjoyed, in all its purity, the holy 
influence of * the peace of God, which passeth all 
understanding.* " 

I think that I may confidently say, that without 
attempting to impart to the "Penny Magazine" a 
distinctly religious character, I did not interpret 
in a too literal signification the original rule of the 
Society with reference to religion — ^that is, to abstain 
from publishing on that subject, " convinced that the 
numerous institutions already existing for the diflfii- 
sion of religious knowledge in every shape will best 
advance that momentous end." * That I might have 
been encouraged to do more in the incidental 'manner 
advocated by Dr. Arnold I cannot doubt, had his 
approval of what he had read been communicated 
to me. When I first saw the opinion of this good 
and great man in his "Life," by the Rev. Arthur 
Stanley, published after his decease, I felt it was 
an injustice to myself on the part of the treasurer 
of the Society that this letter had been withheld 
from me. 

After the " Penny Magazine " had been published 
during three years, I had the gratification of being 
able to offer a permanent situation to a gentleman for 
whom Dr. Arnold had a high esteem, to assist me 
in the conduct of that and other periodical works. 
Dr. Arnold in 1831 set up a weekly newspaper, 
" The Englishman's Register," which died a natural 
death in a few weeks. "Finding, however," says 
Mr. Stanley, " that some of his articles had been 

* First Animal Report of the Society, 1828. 

Ch. IX.] 



copied into the * Sheffield Courant/ by its editor, 
Mr. Piatt, he opened a communication with him in 
July, 1831, which he maintained ever afterwards, 
and commenced, writing a series of letters in that 
paper, which, to the number of thirteen, were after- 
wards published separately, and constitute the best 
exposition of his views on the main causes of social 
distress in England.'' The friendship which the 
head master of Rugby manifested for John Clarke 
Piatt was fully warranted by his admirable qualities. 
We worked together in the most perfect harmony 
for more than ten years, until he quitted London, 
again to undertake the editorship of a Sheffield 
Journal. His sound knowledge, especially on poli- 
tical and social subjects, his clear style and his calm 
judgment, excellently fitted him to be a contributor 
to the " Companion to the Almanac " and the " Penny 
Cyclopaedia." There was another young man, whose 
imaginative turn of mind did not unfit him for deal- 
ing with matters of fact, historical or antiquarian, 
when he had passed through a course of training by 
diligent reading. John Saunders, having encountered 
much of the rough work, and sounded some of the 
perilous depths of journalism, has won a reputation 
as a novelist, at which no one can more truly rejoice 
than myself. 

I cannot conclude this notice of the early history 
of the " Penny Magazine " without adverting to one 
who first gave me the benefit of his assistance, in the 
office generally known as that of a sub-editor, soon 
after I became connected with the Useful Knowledge 
Society. Alexander Bamsay has been for five-and- 
thirty years my friend and fellow-labourer. He has 
worked with me in every undertaking in which I 


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have been engaged, from the second volume of the 
" British Ahnanac and Companion for 1830, to the 
last for 1864. He has brought to this long course of 
duty not only the ministerial services which belong 
to a reader of manuscripts and a coirector of the 
press, but taste, and knowledge, and readiness of 
resource, well adapted for original composition, in the 
accustomed progress and occasional exigencies of 
periodical works. I think it is creditable to both of 
us that in a long struggle by societies and individuals 
for the establishment of cheap and wholesome lite- 
rature, we have been labouring side by side — ^that 

" In this glorious and weU-foughten field, 
"We kept together in our chivalry ! *' 

Having lingered, perhaps too long, around details 
that may be more interesting to myself than to 
others, I return to the point of time which I quitted 
at the close of the last chapter. 

In September, 1832, when the whole coimtry was 
alive with the " note of preparation" for elections to 
the Eeformed Parliament, Mr. Hill was at Hull, 
ambitious of representing the fine did town which 
nearly two centuries before had Andrew Marvell for 
its member, He wrote to me to come down for a 
brief holiday, and to endeavour to form at Hull a 
Local Committee of our Society. The chief port of 
the Humber was not then so accessible as by the 
present railway journey of five hours. Leaving 
London by the night mail, I looked out as the 
morning dawned upon the beautifiil western front of 
Peterborough, and had a somewhat dreary ride of 
nine hours in addition, until I reached the shore 
from which I was to cross to Hull in a ferry-boat 

Digitized by 

Ch. IX.] 



I was in Hull, as I find recorded in a letter home, at 
ten minutes to four, and at a quarter past found 
myself seated in a room with two hundred people, of 
whom I knew not a face but HilFs. I was somewhat 
amazed at his extraordinary power as a speaker over 
a mixed audience, and although I was not myself 
" quite unused to public speaking," I was a little 
frightened when I had an opportunity of testifying 
to his zeal in the cause of education. That merit, I 
think, was as effectual a guarantee for his success as 
his political opinions — somewhat more advanced than 
those of the Whigs-proper, but avoiding many of the 
excesses of the extreme Eadicals. I judged that my 
friend's petum as one of the members for Hull was 
perfectly certain, and the event proved that I was 
right. I stayed here three days, enjoying a most 
hospitable reception, in the society of mierchants not 
less intellectual and refined than those of Liverpool. 
In the dwellings and household arrangements of the 
humbler classes of that busy port, there was an 
appearance of comfort and of regard for health which 
Liverpool did not exhibit. 

My friend was about to proceed to Westmorland 
on a visit to Lord Brougham. I was desirous of a 
week's ramble in the Lake District, although it 
might be a solitary one ; for my life in the South, 
when I was rarely free to make holiday tours, had 
never allowed me to become familiar with mountain 
scenery. We went on together through Beverley 
and York to Penrith. While at breakfast on the 
morning after our arrival, there came a letter from 
the Chancellor to Mr. Hill, insisting that I should 
not go on to Keswick, as I had proposed, but become 
his guest. I spent a week with him of no common 

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pleasure, of which I may note down a few re- 
membrances without trespassing upon that sanctity 
of the family life which has too often been violated 
in " Pencillings " and other ministrations to a 
depraved curiosity. 

There is perhaps no more beautiful exhibition of 
what has been called the delight of spontaneous exist- 
ence than the daily life of a great statesman escaped 
from cabinets and courts, from rivalries and importuni- 
ties, from scenes of pei'petual tuimoil and excitement, 
to sit down at peace in his own fields, Uke Chatham at 
Hayes, or Burke at Beaconfefield, or Fox at St. Ann's 
HiU. I had been at Brougham Hall five days, when 
I wrote to my wife to convey some idea of that week 
of enjoyment — of relaxation mingled with serious em- 
ployment — of anecdotical gossip and grave discussion. 
My sober reminiscences of that time are perfectly in 
unison with the warm expressions of the moment : — 
" Our course of life is this — ^We rise at seven. Hill 
and I walk, if it is fine, for an hour. Then come the 
letters and papers. At a quarter to ten we breakfast. 
At the head of the table sits the Chancellor's mother 
— ^the most interesting old lady I ever saw in my 
life. Heavens, what he must owe to the care of that 
mother! Mr. William Brougham is of the party. 
At eleven we go up to the library — the Chancellor 
and we two — and there we discuss some point of 
national importance, with all sorts of documents 
before us, for three or four hours. We then start off 
for a drive amongst the Lakes— still we three — ^where 
the Chancellor delights to point out the beauties of 
the scenery, or tell us some local anecdote— ever and 
anon coming back to our morning's labours upon 
Education, Poor Laws, Taxes, Tithes, &c. &c. At 



half-past six or seven we dine — ^have a cheerful and 
animated talk for two or three hours — ^then the 
drawing-room and tea — and bed at eleven. I am 
quite sure this week will have a lasting eflfect upon 
my temper and modes of thought. It is impossible 
to be in company with Lord Brougham for a short 
time, and not feel wiser ; — ^but to meet him in his 
daily life — to witness his regulated industry, to enjoy 
his constant good humour, to partake his high hopes 
for the improvement of his fellow creatures, and to 
have one's own powera constantly called out by his 
wonderful talents, without being in the slightest 
degree under constraint — all this constitutes a rare 
enjoyment, and furnishes a powerful incentive to 
deserve the friendship of such a man." 

We had not only drives amongst the Lakes but 
long walks. How vividly some of the incidents of 
these rambles come before me ! We descend from 
the Hall to the ruins of Brougham Castle, and I 
think of the Shepherd Lord, and of the Song that 
was sung at the feast when he was restored to the 
honours of his ancestors : — ► 

'* Love had he found in huts where poor men lie." 

He by whose side I was walking was intent upon 
raising " poor men " out of the degradations of 
poverty by wise employment of the funds that 
belonged to the helpless, and not to the idle. The 
Chancellor took an especial interest in the inquiries 
that were then proceeding under a Royal Com* 
mission as to the administration and operation of the 
Poor-Laws. Evening after evening would his Dis- 
patch-box bring down some Report of the Assistant 
Commissioners. He occasionally gave me the task 

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of looking over these voluminous papers, and mark- 
ing passages for his more careful perusal. This was 
some of the regular morning employment. But on 
one bright forenoon we sallied forth for a whole 
holiday. Our course was by the side of the little 
river under the high grounds of Lowther Castle. 
We came to the tumpike-gata It suggested an 
anecdote which tells how much stronger is the sym- 
pathy of genius than the antagonism of party. After 
that Session of 1822, in which Mr. Canning and Mr. 
Brougham had a painful difference of a personal 
nature in the House of Commons, they suddenly met 
here, riding alone in opposite directions. This gate 
was closed. They sat for a moment steadily looking 
at each other, then each burst into a laugh, and shook 
hands in parting. I doubt not that both were the 
happier for this meeting. That fine morning brought 
on a wet noon. We found refuge in a dalesman's 
cottage ; and, drying our coats over his peat fire, hsA 
a cheerful talk of an hour or two— but generally 
coming back to the one subject of Education in its 
various forms. The Diffusion of Useful Knowledge 
was of course a leading topic. The " Penny Cyclo- 
paedia " had been announced ; and we had to settle 
principles and form plans for its conduct. We had 
to dwell also on the subject then constantly pre- 
senting itself to the Chancellor's official mind — ^that 
of Education in relation to Pauperism. The con- 
versations which arose upon the great question of 
the amendment of the Poor Laws were to me as 
stores of knowledge, when I had practically to deal 
with subjects of Local Administration. 

I must not linger around the remembrances of this 
interesting visit. We parted from our friendly host on a 

Digitized by 

Ch. IX.] 



Monday morning, and travelled by chaise to Keswick. 
Here we stayed several days, making excursions to 
Buttermere; climbing Skiddaw; boating on Derwent- 
water ; and not reaching Liverpool till Thursday 
night. As I read a letter which I then wrote home, 
I feel that I have ofken foolishly proposed to execute 
literary tasks, when travelling with the one true 
object — thai of repose and change of scene. It is 
quite enough to give the mind renewed powers, in 
filling it with new associations of beauty and grandeur 
whether of Nature or of Art. " I am writing," I said, 
" upon some large paper I bought at Keswkk to com- 
plete an article which I am trying to accomplish for 
the 'Journal of Education,' but it is impossible. The 
glorious magnificence of the mountains got mth 
possession of my mind that I could think, and ere^ 
dream, of nothing else. I do not wonder that men 
of lively imaginations are content to give up all 
worldly prospects for a bare maintenance amidst mcb. 
scenea I could almost be such an enthusiast 
myself, with six children, at forty." 


HE success of the ' Penny Magazine* has 
induced the Committee to undertake 
the publication of a ' Penny Cyclopaedia/ 
in Numbers and Monthly Parts. A work 
of such magnitude and novelty requires all the 
assistance which can be afforded it by the Members 
of the Society, both in London and in the Country, 
in order to give it publicity and circulation." Such 
was the announcement of their greatest undertaking 
in the annual address of the Useful Knowledge 
Society, dated June 30, 1832. A specimen of the 
projected " Penny Cyclopaedia " had been printed by 
Mr. Clowes on the previous 2nd of June. This fact 
was certified by him after a surreptitious "Penny 
Cyclopaedia" had been advertised in the daily papers 
of the 16th of August " as now ready." This had 
been met on the 17th by an advertisement from the 
Committee, cautioning the public against an attempt 
to impose upon them. The career of this pretender 
was terminated before the issue of the first number 
of the real "Penny Cyclopaedia," on the 2nd of 
January, 1833. 

In characterizing jbheir imdertaking as " a work of 
such magnitude and novelty," the Committee appear 
to have looked at its magnitude, rather with reference 
to the universal range of the proposed information, 
than to the contemplated Hmits in point of size. I 

Digitized by 


Ch. X] 



have stated that the " Penny Cyclopsedia " was pro- 
jected by me "to form a moderate-sized book of 
eight volumes."* The novelty was not to consist 
in producing a CyclopsBdia imder one alphabetical 
arrangement, but in its issue in weekly sheets, each 
of which was to be sold at a penny. But there was 
another novelty which would very soon be discovered 
by the educated portion of the public, upon a com- 
parison of this work with existing Cyclopaedias. 
It was not an aflFair of scissoi-s and paste. It was not 
a hash from German and French sources. Its writers 
had not "been at a great feast of languages and 
stolen the scrapa" Every article was to be original; 
to be furnished by various men, each the best that 
could be found in special departments of knowledge. 
The essential difficulty of making the contributions 
at once brief and complete was discovered when the 
experiment came to be tried for a few months. It 
was impossible, moreover, to oflFer an adequate 
remuneration to a competent scholar or man of 
science, when it was said to him — ^You must give us 
the very cream of your knowledge ; you must pour 
out the fullest information in the most condensed 
form of words ; your articles must nevertheless be 
readable and perfectly intelligible to the popular 
mind ; and yet, under these difficult conditions, you 
must be paid at a certain rate per page. This 
"solatium,'* not low as compared with reviews and 
magazine articles in reference to the mere ninnber 
of words, was very low if the merit of the Cyclopfledia 
was to consist in extreme compression, whilst the 
Review and the Magazine conductors would allow of 

* Companion to the Almanac, 1858, p. 15. 



any amount o( expansion not altogether extravagant. 
The plan would never work. It would pay the 
gardener to grow dwarf pear trees and peach trees, 
but it would not pay the writer to produce dwarfed 
articles that, like the rarities of the hothouse and 
OHiservatory, should be perfect in form, if not in size, 
bear good fruit, and not die very prematurely. A 
very clever and aoecHnplished author, Mr. Samuel 
Phillips, thus described the issue of this expenme&t: 
" When the Cyclopaedia was started, the public were 
invited to pay their penny a week, and to seize the 
Of^rtunity of securing, not only a valuaMe, but 
also an incomparably cheap publici^ion. 'Useful 
knowledge' was to be 'diffused' by a society 
aj^inted for the express purpose, but it was not to 
be ' diffusive.' It was to be poured abroad, but in 
such a iasm as should instruct, not weary or perplex 
the recipient. If we remember rightly, ei^ht good 
compact volumes were to contain the substantial 
food for which the working mind was pining. Before 
one volume, however, was ecanjdeted, the Committee 
thought it expedient to hint that it must 'be 
obsareed thai the plan of the CydopascHa had been 
rather enlarged.' After a year the plan had enlarged 
so mudi that the rate of issue was doubled. It was 
no IcHiger a penny a week, but twopence. After 
three years it was quadrupled — Ibuipence a-week 
instead of twopence. Had the original plan of a 
penny weekly issue been persevered in, it would biave 
taken exactly thirty-seven years to complete tite 
business." * 

The extension of the quantity of the Cyclopedia 
♦ "TimeB," Oct 12,1654. 

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was no doubt unavoidable under tbe superintendence 
of the Society, but it destroyed its commercial value. 
Had it been a careful compilation, instead of an 
original work furnished by nearly two himdred con- 
tributors, it would have been to me a fcHrtune. In 
that case, its prepaiation being confined to a few 
persons, its proposed limits could have been steadily 
adhered ta I have recorded, — ^without inferring 
that any Uame was in the least degree to be attached 
to those who were respoosible for its conduct — ^what 
WBS the commercial result of this enterprise. " The 
CcHnmittee had the honour of the work, in its 
extended form, but without incurring any of the riak, 
or contributing one shilling to the oost, the literary 
ezpeaiditure alone having reached nearly 40,000{. 
Upon the completion of the Cyclopaedia, the balance 
upon tibe outlay above the receipts was 30,788?/' * 
The regular decrease in the sale was very marked. 
While it continued to be published upon its original 
jdtaa of ozie niunber weekly, the sale was 75,000. 
The instant th«e was an issue of two numbers a 
week it fell to 55,000, and at the end of its second 
year it had fallm to 44,000. When the twopence 
a week becaiae fourpence, the rate of diminution 
became still more rapid. The sale of the first year 
was double that of ihe fourth year. The sale of the 
fi>ur& year doubled that of the eighth year. It then 
found its level, and became steady to the end — the 
55,000 of the latter months of 1833 having been 
reduced to 20,000 at the dose of 1843. The Com- 
mittee of the Society, when the original project had 
been departed from, and they saw that the under- 

* OompaiiioiL to the Almuiac, 1858, p. 15. 

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taking had become to me a burden and a loss, passed 
a resolution that no rent be paid upon the first 
110,000 copies of each number of the "Penny 
Cyclopaedia." Rent was then to commence ; and to 
continue till the work had reached a sale of 200,000, 
when the Society would no longer ask for a remunera- 
tion for its superintendence. No doubt I was 
grateful for this sanguine anticipation of a good time 
coming, but it is scarcely prudent or satisfactory for 
a commercial man to postpone his profits ad 
Calendaa Graecas. The chronic loss for eleven 
years, which was induced by the Cyclopaedia, an'd 
which fell wholly upon me, absorbed every other 
source of profit in my extensive business, leaving me 
little beyond a bare maintenance, without the hope 
of laying by for the future. 

There was a very serious interruption to the sale 
of the Cyclopaedia after it had existed about six 
months ; which may be worth recording, as exhibiting 
the evils of unrepealed laws passed in former states 
of society and under different circumstances. I find 
this record in the Minutes of the Committee of the 
12th of June, 1833 : "Mr. Knight laid on the table 
a letter from Mr. Drake, of Birmingham, dated the 
10th instant, which stated, that informations had 
been filed, and convictions obtained, under the 27th 
clause of the 39th George JIL, chap, 79, against 
booksellers in that town, for selling a publication 
whereof the printer s name did not appear on the first 
and last pages ; and that in consequence many book- 
sellers were fearful of selling the ' Penny Magazine ' 
and * Cyclopaedia.' " Copies of these and other letters 
received on this subject were transmitted to Mr. 
Spring Eice, with whom I had an interview. The 

Digitized by 

Ch. X.] 



result was that, although a law might eventually be 
passed to remedy the oppression of these qui tarn 
informations, the statute of the 39th George III. 
could not at once be repealed. I had no remedy 
but to call in the whole of the stock in the hands 
of many wholesale agents scattered through the 
coimtry, who had to go through the same process 
with those they had supplied. The law was sub- 
sequently altered in its effect by the Government 
deciding that it should be left to the discretion 
of the Attorney-General to prosecute publishers 
in all cases where the statute was not strictly 
adhered to. 

Mr. PhiUips has said in his article on the " Penny 
Cyclopeedia" — " Mr. Knight, the publisher and prime 
mover of the undertaking, proudly congratulated 
himself at its close upon having achieved a great 
literary triumph ; he had also, as was usual in his 
paeans, to mingle in his song the melancholy note of 
one suffering imder the consciousness of great com- 
mercial loss." The melancholy note which was out 
of harmony with my pseans was almost invariably 
connected with the pressure of the paper duty upon 
all works of large circulation and low price. With 
the high duty of threepence in the pound, it re- 
quired a steadfast resolution on my part not to be 
beaten by excessive taxation, and an equal hope that 
the duty might be abolished or reduced, to prevent 
me throwing up the Cyclopaedia in despair. In 
1836 the duty was reduced to three hal^ence in the 
pound. This was a relief ; but it was not commen- 
surate with the constant falling sale to which I have 
adverted. I gladly suspend " the melancholy note 
and turn to a much more interesting subject — ^the 

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reminiscence of some of the most valued contri- 
butors to the Cyclopaedia, whose services conferred 
upon it a reputation which has survived during all 
the varied changes of literature and science that we 
have seen, and which is capable of a constant renewal 
of its pristine vigour, such as has been accomplished 
in "The English Cyclopaedia." 

The author of " The Behearsal" has made merry 
with the notion of " two kings of Brentford sitting 
on one throne, smelling to one nosegay." If Mr. 
Long and myself had persevered for more than a few 
months in the attempt to divide the editorial duties 
connected with the " Penny Cyclopaedia " we m^ht 
possibly have been presented to the world in this 
ludicrous attitude. As it was, I very soon most 
gladly resigned the reins into the hsmds of one who 
managed his team with consummate skill dming 
many years. For such a work as the Cydopeedia a 
thoroughly competent Editor was indispensable. He 
must combine the moral qualities of unwearied 
industry and undeviating punctuality, with the 
firmness which is best supported by courtesy and 
kindness. I have heard that a man of letters 
who was rather raw, laid down as a maxim for his 
editorial guidance that he must be polite to his 
contributors, but by no means &miliar. Mr. Long^s 
contributors gathered round him as friends. On his 
intellectual qualities it is unnecessary for me to 
dilate. Lord Brougham, in his Address to the Asso- 
ciation for the Promotion of Social Science in 1857, 
referred to the operations of the Committees of the 
Useful Knowledge Society as an example of ''the 
beneficial effects of imited action.*' In the " Com- 
panion to the Almanac" for 1858, I noticed, as I 

Digitized by 



felt it my duty to do, the semewhat exaggerated 
estimate which the ChairmaiL of the Society had 
formed of the results of this waited action, without 
making the slightest reference to individual actions. 
Speaking more especially of Mr. Long's labours as 
Editor of the Cyclopaedia, and incidentally alluding 
to my own in connection with the " Penny Maga- 
zine " and other works, I said — " That the Society 
presented many advantages as a base of op^ations 
is unquestionable. It had the prestige of great 
names connected with it. Its members were of high 
intelligence and vajious learning; they were in- 
dustrious ; and, what was of equal impcartance, they 
ecmfided in their editors. Had this confidence not 
existed, the periodical works could not have gone 
on a single month. They would have broken down 
under a divided responsibility, and have been sufiFo- 
cated in the red-tapeism of what Lord Brougham 
described as 'a vigilant superintendence over the 
style, so that errors in composition and offences 
against correct, and even severe, taste were sure to 
be corrected/ — always provided that the editors had 
any reliance upon the correct, and even severe, taste 
of the correctors. That 'the great number of our 
members' produced even these minor results is a 
figure of speech. There were a few woiking mem- 
bers, as there are in every association, who were 
valuable referees ; but that the Society, as a body, 
was the moving power which enabled it to publish 
for twenty years 'with xmlMroken regularity,' we 
humbly b^ to say is a continuance of a delusion 
whidi was not entertained by those members who 
were content to aid in doing what they thought a 
work of public utility, without attempting to shut 


their eyes to what had been accomplished, during 
many years, by editorial responsibility." 

In the sixth chapter, I have incidentally men- 
tioned several of the earlier members of the Useful 
Knowledge Committee as contributors to the Cydo- 
psedia. Upon looking over the general list of the 
contributors to this work during the many years 
of its publication, I cannot but regard it most 
fortunate that a rule, 'which was attempted to be 
established in the first stages of the Society, soon 
came to be held as perfectly impracticable. This 
rule, to which Lord Brougham gave the name of 
the Self-denying Ordinance, was in eflfect that no 
member of the Committee should be paid for his 
writings. It was perhaps desirable that such a rule 
should have existed at the origin of the Society, 
when it was considered that public subscriptions 
would be necessary for its maintenance. But when 
it was ^found that during five years this source of 
revenue had only yielded to the Society a dear 
annual sum of 1252., and that its publications might 
be carried on upon the commercial principle alone, 
and afford a profit partly to the Society and partly 
to its publishers, it would have been the extreme 
of false delicacy to deny to the Editor of the Cyclo- 
peedia, especially, the services of some of the best 
contributors he could anywhere find. The time was 
past when the highest in rank, as well as the most 
eminent in literature or science, would think it a 
degradation to be paid for their writings. And 
thus, whether members of our Committee or other- 
wise, every writer in the Cyclopaedia was paid at 
a fixed rate, whose aggregate at the end of the work 
had amounted to the large sum I have previously 

Digitized by 


stated. Standing, therefore, upon the same principle 
as regulated the pecuniary arrangements with other 
contributors — the only principle upon which the re 
lations of author and publisher can be harmoniously 
maintained — I shall not attempt to separate the two 
classes in referring with necessary brevity to the 
chief supporters of this undertaking in the character 
of writers. 

First in importance of the great departments of 
the " Cyclopaedia," may be reckoned that of mathe- 
matical and physical science. Upon Professor 
De Morgan rested its heaviest labours. It was es- 
sential that one mind should have the almost 
undivided charge of Mathematics, considering that, 
the order of the articles being alphabetical, the 
relation of one portion of a subject to the other 
had constantly to be regarded so as to render the 
whole series of articles complete and harmonious. 
Thus this collection of mathematical papers, when 
duly arranged by their author according to his own 
views, have been constantly referred to in his classes 
at University College. Astronomy necessarily formed 
a portion of this division, and to Professor De 
Morgan are due the accuracy and completeness of 
the general articles on this subject. There were 
special papers on this branch of science by other 
contributors. In speaking of the series on astro- 
nomical instruments, by the Rev. Bichard Sheep- 
shanks (who became a member of the committee 
soon after the first publication of the Cyclopaedia), 
I cannot forbear to express the admiration I always 
felt for this distinguished man. There was a breadth 
in his understanding which carried him beyond the 
range of the minute and laborious scientific opera- 

VOL. II. p 

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tions to which he devoted the greater part of his 
time. He was a liberal thinker in political matters, 
although never publicly meddling with the great 
questions whose triumphs he rejoiced to behold. 
His conversation on matters of history and literature 
always presented the evidence of sound thought 
and rich learning. He was ready to assist in 
any well-considered project of utility with a self- 
devotion quite untainted by any desire of profit 
or distinction. The same generous spirit seems to 
have been a family inheritance^ for it was his brother 
John^ who, in 1856, presented to the nation his 
noble collection of pictures by British artists. 

Lord Brougham used to point with a just pride to 
the one contribution of the Astronomer-Boyal to the 

Penny Cydopeedia/' as a notable example of the 
value of popular literature in the eyes of one of the 
most eminent scientific men of his day. Mr. Airy's 
paper on Gravitation is indeed a masterpiece of lucid 
exposition without the employment of mathematical 
formuke. Printed in a separate shape it was long 
used as a text-book at Cambridge, and has been 
reprinted (without alteration, as the author desired) 
in the "English CydopsBdia" There are some 
valuable papers on Physics, commencing with the 
letter D, by Robert Murphy, one of those unfor- 
tunate men whose remarkable powers of mind have 
been neutralised by the want of those moral quali- 
ties which would have preserved them from a course 
of vidous indulgence. His early career presets 
one of the most striking examples of seK-education 
on record. He was bom in 1806, the son of a parish 
derk and shoemaker, at Mallow, in Ireland. At 
deven years of age, while learning his fisither's trade. 

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he was run over by a cart, and whilst lying for 
twelve months on his bed, with a fractured thigh- 
bone^ was supplied by his friends with books. A 
Cork Almanac, which was amongst these, contained 
some mathematical problems that excited his cu- 
riosity. He desired to know more of the subject 
so attractive to him, and Euclid was put into his 
hands. In course of time the lame boy, who used 
to write answers to mathematical problems which 
appeared in newspapers, obtained patrons who en- 
deavoured to take him out of his intended life of 
mechanical emplojnnent. They failed in procuring 
his admission as a student of Trinity CoUege, 
Dublin, through his deficiency in classical acquire- 
ments, although he had received much valuable 
assistance in his favourite pursuit from a school- 
master at Mallow. At length, when he had reached 
the age of nineteen, some of his papers were placed 
in the hands of Professor Woodhouse, of Cambridge, 
who, having at first reluctantly looked at them, was 
suddenly struck by such evidences of original talent, 
that he entered the name of Eobert Murphy on 
the boards of Caius College. With the exception of 
a small outfit from his friends in Ireland, his ex- 
penses at Cambridge were defrayed by the College 
in addition to the receipts of his scholarship. In 
1829, he was elected a Fellow of Caius. In 1832, 
although he had taken Deacon's orders, he fell into 
dissipated habits, and his fellowship was sequestrated 
for debt. His frailties were treated with indulgence 
by the college authorities, and it seemed probable 
that he would regain his position in the University 
He came, however, to London in 1836, to look for. 
employment aa a teacher and a writer f began the 

p 2 

Digitized by 


articles on Physics in the Cyclopaedia, and subse- 
quenly wi*ote a treatise on Algebraic Equations for 
the Society. Before his death, in March, 1843, of a 
pulmonary disease, " the necessity of struggling for 
a livelihood made it impossible for him to give his 
undivided attention to researches which, above all 
others, demand both peace of mind and undisturbed 
leisure/' * Amongst the contributors in the general 
depai-tment of Physics, I must add the name of 
Mr. Narrien, Professor of Mathematics in the Royal 
MiUtaiy College at Sandhurst. He was also our 
chief authority in military science. Although the 
vast changes in the art of war, during the last 
twenty years, have impaired the practical value of 
many of his articles, they formed a solid foimdation 
of*principles, on which to build a view of the modem 
improvements which have set all nations upon de- 
vising the most efficient means of attack and defence. 
Gunnery and fortification, under the modem principle, 
may probably have the consequence of diminishing 
the amount of bloodshed, in the same way as the 
invention of gunpowder put an end to such battle- 
fields of unscientific carnage as that of Agincourt. 

The general articles on Physics in the "Penny 
Cyclopaedia " — in which, as in all other departments, 
occasion was invariably taken in the latter portion of 
the alphabet to make mention of more recent 
improvements and discoveries — ^present the evidence 
of the tmth, expressed in a few words by Dr. Amott, 
"that human knowledge and art have been pro- 
gressive in the world, and are now advancing with 
accelerated speed." t Thus, although the papers on 

* Supplement to Penny Cyclopaedia/* 

t " Elements of Physicg," 1864. Introduction, p. viL 

Ch. X.] 



Electricity and Magnetism dealt with a full knoW' 
ledge of the theories existing some twenty years ago, 
much that was then new has now become almost 
obsolete, except in connection with the history of 
science. But more strikingly is this principle 
exemplified in the large series of articles on Chemistry 
and Mineralogy, which were almost wholly confided 
to Richard Phillips. No one more thoroughly or 
more practically acquainted with the science, and 
more capable of furnishing lucid expositions, could 
have been found. He was held in the highest 
respect by the chemists of his day, as may be judged 
from the fact that when the Chemical Society of 
London was founded, in 1841, the distinction was 
ofiFered to him of becoming its first president. He 
was then working at his articles in the Penny 
Cyclopaedia," as he had worked from its commence- 
ment. I had many opportunities of familiar inter- 
course with this eminent man, whose simplicity of 
character and manner seem to have retained some- 
thing of the plainness and sincerity of that school of 
pharmaceutical chemistry in which he was educated 
— ^the establishment in Plough Court of William 
AUen, the Quaker. Mr. Phillips died in his seventy- 
third year, in 1851, being then the curator and 
chemist of the Museum of Practical Geology. In 
1852, Dr. Daubeny, president of the Chemical 
Society, in his annual address described Mr. Phillips 
(who in 1850 had been his predecessor in that office) 
as being during the latter part of his life, " a con- 
necting link between the chemists of the last genera- 
tion and of the present, having been the contemporary 
of Davy and Wollaston no less than of Faraday and 
Graham.'* He was further described as " one of the 


last of that distinguished baud of philosopheis who, 
before chemical science had so enlarged its bounda- 
ries, as to include within its domain, and to com- 
prehend within the operation of its laws, the products 
of animal and vegetable life, occupied themselves 
almost exclusively in the investigation of the com- 
binations of which mineral bodies are susceptible." 
But not only had the domain of chemistry been thus 
greatly enlarged, but its very language has been 
changed. Symbols now convey to the mind of the 
student focts which previously required to be 
expressed in many words. Thus, valuable as the 
articles of Mr. Phillips were, they demanded careful 
remodelling and large additions for the "English 
Cyclopaedia.*' In two more decades, perhaps even in 
one, the same process will again have to be gone 
through, if that book is to {nreserve its reputation, 
and not stereotype what has become obsolete and in- 
api^icable to new conditions of science or social life. 

I turn to the applications of science to the arts. 
First in importance in the past and in the present 
state of civilisation is Agriculture. I have a note 
before me, dated February 25th, 1833, fipom the Rev, 
William Lewis Rham, whom I had slightly known 
during my Windsor experience as the Vicar of Wink- 
field, in Berkshire. He therein proposes, upon the 
suggestion of his friend, Mr. Jardine, to write for the 
" Penny Cyclopaedia," " as affording a considerable 
variety of subjects, and especially those connected 
with agriculture, to which I have paid some atten- 
tion, and in which I have some practical experience.'' 
This proposition was gladly closed with ; for it was 
not easy then to find one of "practical experience" 
in agriculture who had the power of expressing his 

Digitized by 

Ch. X.] 



ideas in a style which should unite brevity with clear- 
ness, and byits popular qualities turn aside thecountry 
gentleman and the cultivator from their ordinary 
contempt of book-£axming." Mr. Sham immediately 
commenced that series of papers in the "Penny 
Cyclopaedia," which were subsequently collected in a 
volume entitled " The Dictionary of the Farm." He 
wrote the first of these articles at the beginning of 
1833. He wrote the last of the series, " Yorkshire 
Husbandry,*' in 1843, only a few weeks before his 
death. During these eleven years of occasional inter- 
course, I saw in Mr. Bham one of the most amiable 
and benevolent of men. I visited him in his parish, 
where he discharged his pastoral duties with exemp- 
lary care. But he did more than the ordinary duties 
of his position. The Winkfield School of Industry, 
under his guidance, became a model for all similar 
institutions in country parishes. There were then 
few examples in England of what FeUenberg was 
doing at HofwyL Mr. Rham was not opposed, even 
during a period of political excitement, as Fellenbeig 
was opposed in 1833. But Mr. Bham did not receive 
in his plans' for education any great sympathy from 
his own class. He farmed his glebe at Winkfield. 
It was here that he tried those experiments in 
scientific agriculture which were compatible with 
the cultivation of a limited number of acres, before 
the era of those mechanical improvements which 
have now rendered the farmer a manufacturer. But 
whatever could be attained by diligent observation 
at home and in foreign countries, and by the study 
of foreign writers on scientific husbandry, was 
employed as far as possible in the routine of Mr. 
Bham's own farm. Previous to writing the treatise 


on Flemish Husbandry for the ** Farmer's Series " of 
the Useful Knowledge Society, he walked from farm 
to farm in Flanders during many weeks, enjoying 
the rough hospitality of a simple people, and, speak- 
ing their language with facility, made himself 
agreeable to them by the vaiiety and extent of the 
knowledge which he imparted. As he returned 
from this tour, I met him on board a steamer, in 
which I had taken my passage from Antwerp; and I 
have a vivid recollection of the charm of his conver- 
sation, and the kindness of his attentions when I was 
suffering from an accident which had occurred 
during a journey of which I shall hereafter have 
occasion to speak. 

Having mentioned Fellenberg's establishment at 
Hofwyl, I may assume that Mr. Rham, whose mother 
was a Swiss, was well acquainted with the successful 
experiments in the education of the poor which had 
been carried on in the Canton of Berne for thirty- 
two years, when the " Penny Cyclopaedia " was first 
published. Mr. Brougham, in his evidence before 
the Education Committee in 1818, gave a most 
interesting account of Fellenberg's School for the 
Poor. In 1833 Lord Brougham wrote me a letter 
which appears so strikingly characteristic of his 
enthusiasm in the cause of education that I may 
venture to give a few extracts. Its object was to 
put me into communication with Mr. Duppa, of 
Hollingboume House, Maidstone, who had recently 
returued from a visit to Hofwyl. " The bigots and 
tyrants," says Lord Brougham, " have been prevail- 
ing so far as to get up an attack on Mr. Fellenberg's 
system (and on all sound systems of education), and 
they have enlisted so much of the Swiss press on 

CJh. X.] 



their side that he considers they can only be saved 
by help from -our own press. Mr. Fellenberg is 
desirous above all that the facts should be made 
known^ and he has appealed to me. I feel so much 
interested in it that nothing but the inconvenience 
of putting the Great Seal in commission prevents 
me from hastening to his assistance, because if I 
saw with my own eyes what is doing, I know I 
could speedily discomfit this vile conspiracy — ^which 
ei^teen yeai's ago nearly nipt his plan in the bud. 
* * * * My belief is clear that an eflfort made now, 
and in time, by the press, as far as the Society has 
access to it, would be decisive in headi/ag hdck Mr, 
Fellenberg*s enemies — ^who are chiefly the aristocra* 
tic faction in Berne, and who never will forgive him, 
because, being himself a patrician, he has chosen to 
lead the life of a schoolmaster for the good of man- 
kind." In concluding. Lord Brougham called upon 
me to do something upon this subject for the " Penny 
Magazine," during the prorogation of the Society to 
which Mr. Fellenberg had appealed. Mr. Duppa 
sent me an interesting account of his visit for the 
"Magazine," and at the same period wrote a full 
account of Hofwyl in the " Journal of Education." 

The contributions of Mr. Bham to the "Penny 
Cyclopaedia," furnished a complete view of the theoiy 
and practice of agriculture up to the time of his 
death in 1843. But we were then within only a 
year or two of the greatest social change of the pre- 
sent generation — the entire relinquishment of the 
system of Protection for the home cultivator. Out 
of the removal of restrictions upon the importation 
of foreign com and foreign cattle, have sprung up 
new processes, new applications of mechanical power, 


new substitutions of skilled labour for unskilled, 
which have lifted the whole course of farming opera- 
tions out of the routine of centuries into asystematie 
study of chemistry, of meteorology, of geology, and — 
of what was probably most wanting in the small ac- 
quirements of the old femner — of Political Economy. 
The tentative legislation, by which the era of Free 
Trade in com was heralded, filled most agriculturists 
with a shivering which preceded the great shock. 
A few of the wiser saw what was coming, and calied 
in Science for the more efficient working of their 
Capital Some twenty years ago I was travelling in 
a railway carriage from Hastings to Brighton, when 
an ancient gen^eman exclaimed, The young 'uns 
will all be ruined with these new-£mgled inventions; 
my family have owned a farm in Sussex ever since 
the time of William the Conqueror, and whilst I live 
I will work the land as my father worked it." I 
presumed to ask him how it was that he rode in a 
railway carriage, whilst his father and grandfather so 
often found their limibering oonveyances stud: in 
the Sussex ruts as they travelled to market? The 
patriarch was angry, but he could not deny that he 
had surrendered his free-wiU to a base novelty. 

When the "Penny Cydopeedia" was completed, 
early in 1844, we were only in the infancy of that 
vast change in the intercourse of the world which 
has been effected by railways. The " Cyclopaedia," a£ 
weU as the " Companion to the Almanac,'' kept up a 
systematic view of the progress of this new method 
of communication, upon the ultimate benefits of 
which many still looked with doubt, and some with a 
sort of horror at the innovation which seemed likely 
to alter many of our social relations. Especially 

Ch. i] 



strong was the alarm, when, in 1844, the railway 
companies were required to run what is now called 
a Parliamentary train, at the rate of a penny a mile. 
It was as if the world were coming to an end, when 
farm servants might, at a small cost, go daily to their 
work out of the bounds of their own parish. When 
the advantages of this new legislation were first 
visible in the sight of a smock-frock labourer whist- 
ling in the train, I wrote : " The Railway has to mse 
the condition of all those who for centuries have lived 
remote from the nourishing influences of our growing 
civilisation. Rustic innocence and rustic happiness 
have been found out to be dreams of an age that 
never existed. The seats of ignorance are in the 
villages where never mail-horn has been heard. 
Theare live the bondmen, as much bound to the soil 
as the villains of the fourteenth century— bondmen 
without the sustenance of bondage. The railway 
and the steamboat, by opening markets, by saving 
cost of transit, assist the accumulation of agricultural 
capital That capital cannot be better employed 
than in the calling forth of skilled labour. Let 
labour circulate, and it must become skilled. Fen 
it up in hamlets, and it continues the mechanical, 
hopeless, dangerous thing it is now in its unculti- 
vated state." * 

At the period of the completion of the " Cydo- 
psedia," we were very close upon the general applica- 
tion of the discovery of the most important instru- 
ment of communication that the World had seen — 
the Electric Telegraph. The "Penny Cyclopsedia" 
could scarcely contemplate the wonderful ramifica^ 

• ** The Land we live In," voL i. p. 15. 

Digitized by 


tions of this marvellous invention. It could record 
that the first line of electric telegraphs had been 
laid down upon the London and Blackwall Bailway ; 
and the formation of the second line from London to 
West Drayton might also be referred to. How well 
I remember the ignorant wonder with which, travel- 
ling from Windsor to London by the Great Western, 
I looked upon the erection of tall posts at regular in- 
tervals along the line, and, in answer to the inquiry 
of a foreigner as to their use, told him I thought that 
they were intended for gas-lamps to light the railway. 
These mysterious standards were for the application 
of Mr. Cooke's patent for insulating the wires which 
had been previously placed in iron tubes, buried be- 
neath the ground. How could we then have con- 
ceived that within twenty years there would be a map 
to the United Kingdom showing the extension of the 
telegraph, not otdy to great cities and seats of in- 
dustry, but to almost every small town and to many 
a populous village ! If this mighty power had even 
been confined to our own country, and used only in 
connection with individual affairs, how greatly would 
it have contributed to the interests of commerce 
and to the happiness of domestic life. When the 
railway had been pressed into the service of the 
new postal system, we might breakfast in London and 
sleep in Glasgow, after a long day's journey, with 
the certainty that we could hear from our homes 
by the next afternoon. We have now that more 
comfortable assurance, that if any unforeseen event 
has occurred, or any circumstance been forgotten 
that we ought to know, we shall find a telegram 
on our arrival, and by the same agency our own 
winged words will reach our homes in half an hour. 



But who in 1843 coiild have thought that the whole 
business of journalism in this country would have 
been utterly changed by the Electric Telegraph ; 
that the Penny Morning Paper of Manchester would 
present the summary of a parliamentary debate 
which had been closed only a few hours earlier ; that 
the " Times," and other journals, would oflFer to their 
readers, at six o'clock in the morning, as complete 
a report of the speeches at a midnight meeting 
two hundred miles away as of harangues at the 
same hour in Exeter HaU ; and, greatest marvel of 
all, that, through the application of the Submarine 
Telegraph, whilst the battle of the dawn is still 
raging on the shores of the Baltic, the types which 
are to tell us of the progress of an undecided event 
are being set up in the evening in a dozen printing 
offices in London. 

Digitized by 


]0 attempt the most general view of the 
oondition of maoxtfactures and machinery 
during the progress of the " Penny Cyclo- 
peedia/' — especially bearing in mind the 
yast chas^a that would grow out of the removal of 
the fiscal burthens upon industry, and the gradual 
development of Free Trade — ^would be far beyond the 
scope of these incidental glances at a brighter future. 
I have toudied very lightly upon the subject in the 
fourth and fifth chapters of this volume. Of tJie 
contributors to this department of the " Cyclopsedia," 
I may mention an old fiiend who has worked with 
me during many years upon matters of a cognate 
character, Mr. George Dodd. His careful observa- 
tion and his pimctual industry made him then, as he 
still continues to be, one of the most useful con- 
tributors to serial works. Furnishing not so much 
in quantity, but what he did always being of signal 
value, was Mr. Edward Cowper. As an inventor, 
Mr. Cowper was to me peculiarly interesting, as 
being connected with those simplifications of the 
printing machine which brought it into common 
use.* He felt that it was his great pride to have 
rendered what was originally a complicated instru- 
ment, one capable of adaptation to the purposes of 

• Ante, vol. i. p. 162. 

Digitized by 


Ch, XI.] 



rapid and cheap book-printing, and of producing sach 
illustrated works as the " Penny Magazine " and the 
"Penny Cydopaedia" In an examination before a 
Clommittee of the House of Commons, he said : " The 
ease with which the principles and illustrations of 
-Airt might be diffused, I think is so obvious that it 
is hardly necessary to say a word about it. Here 
you may see it exemplified in the 'Penny Maga- 
zine.' Such works as this could not have existed 
without the printing-machine.'' Amongst the lead- 
ing questions or observations by the Committee 
was this: "In fact the mechanic and the peasant 
in the most remote districts of the country, have 
now an opportunity of seeing tolerably correct out- 
lines of form which they never could behold be- 
fore V His answer was, " Exactly ; and literally at 
tbe price they used to give for a song.'' When asked 
" Is there not, therefore, a greater chance of calling 
genius into activity?" he answered, "Yes; not 
merely by these books creating an artist here and 
there, but by the general elevation of the taste of 
the public." Beyond what Mr. Cowper so justly 
stated with regard to our own coimtiy, I may add, 
that .at this period, 1836, tiie " Penny Magarine " 
was producing a revolution in popular Art through- 
out the workL Stereotype casts of its best cuts were 
supplied by me for the illustration of publications of 
a similar character, which appeared in eleven different 
languages and countries. Many interesting considera- 
tions are involved in the mere recital of the names 
of these countries: Germany — ^France — Holland — 
Livonia (in Bussian and Gterman) — ^Bohemia (Scla- 
vomc) — Italy— Ionian Islands (modem Greek) — 
Sweden — ^Norway — Spanish America — ^the Brazils. 


The entire work was also reprinted in the United 
States from plates sent from this country. I was 
not only bound to be grateful to Mr. Cowper for his 
evidence, but I had long entertained the highest 
respect for the wide range of his information, and 
the simplicity of his character. In his latter years 
he became Professor of Mechanics and Manufacturing 
Arts at King's College. His mode of teaching was 
singularly lucid, never trusting to mere descriptions 
of machinery, so difficult to understand, but illus- 
trating what he had to say by models constructed 
with a most minute ingenuity. He did not consider 
it beneath the dignity of a Professor to superintend 
daily, and actually to work without assistance, a 
machine of his invention, at the blacking manu- 
factory of Messrs. Day and Martin, for secretly print- 
ing the labels of their bottles in a manner which 
would preclude imitation. It was long before the 
Arts that had been effectually used for preventing 
the forgery of blacking labels, were allowed to inter- 
fere with the flourishing manufacture of forged bank 

Dr. Andrew Ure was a contributor to this depart- 
ment of the Cyclopaedia." In 1835, I published 
his very interesting volume on " The Philosophy of 
ManufEtctures ; *' and in 1836, his larger work on 
" The Cotton Manufacture of Great Britain compared 
with other Countries." He was then analytical che- 
mist to the Board of Customs. There were many 
special articles on Manufactures and Machinery, by 
men conversant with particular branches. Amongst 
various names, there is one which stands out promi* 
nent, although processes and mechanical principles 
irere not exactly in his line. Edwin Norris has won 

Ch. XL] 



his distinguished position and his high reputation by 
his labours as a philological and ethnological writer. 
In the "Companion to the Almanac " for 1830, he fur- 
nished a striking example of the range and accuracy of 
his peculiar knowledge, in a most complete explanation 
of " The Eras of Ancient and Modem Times, and of 
various Countries." He still renders me the kind- 
ness of supplying to the " British Almanac" the brief 
notices under each month of the Hebrew Calendai* 
and the Mohammedan Calendar. I knew him with 
some degree of intimacy, upon which I look back 
with pleasure, in the years before his great know- 
ledge of languages gave him the high appointment 
of Secretary to the Koyal Asiatic Society, and the 
onerous responsibility of translator to the Foreign 
Office. In oui* earliest intercourse, he not only won 
my regard by his intellectual and moral qualities, but 
to me he was especially interesting as the son of a 
newspaper proprietor at Taunton. He had acquired 
the practical knowledge of a printer ; but, passionately 
fond of travelling, and devoted to studies whose use- 
fulness was not exactly to be manifested in provincial 
journalism, he went to the continent as a private 
tutor, and remained abroad several years. In his 
pedestrian tours from city to city his remittances 
from home sometimes failed to reach him. He had 
resources in himself which were ever ready to secure 
his independence as a citizen of the world. Arriving 
at a certain town, he found himself almost penniless. 
Applying to the principal printer, he solicits employ- 
ment as a compositor. He states his knowledge of 
foreign languages. Work is slack, and the young 
linguist is about to look further- "Stop!" says the 
typographical successor of the Stephenses (for I 


Digitized by 



believe the town was Geneva). " Stop ! I have been 
printing a Hebrew Bible, of which a little is done ; 
but I can find nobody here to finish it. Can you 
undertake the job and go through with it?" The 
job was undertaken, and it was completed. I need 
give no better illustration of that force of character 
which, in the instance of Mr. Norris, was one of 
many manifestations of that power which we are 
accustomed to call Genius. 

In the department of the Fine Arts, Mr. Eastlake 
(now Sir Charles) contributed a few valuable papers 
— such as Basso Bilievo. Sir Edmund Head also 
wrote on painting, as did my old friend J. P. Davis. 
Mr. R. N. Womum (now Keeper of the National 
Gallery) gave to the Cyclopaedia the advantage of 
his almost unequalled knowledge of the general 
history and character of Schools of Art, and of the 
lives of the great painters. And here I may take 
occasion to mention — ^not only with reference t© the 
biographies of artists, but of those of the eminent in 
Science, in Literature, in Statesmanship, in Theo- 
logy, in Law — that the plan of the " Penny Cyclo- 
psedia" being such as to forbid the introduction of 
any living person, was necessarily limited and im- 
perfect. Under the superintendence of the Useful 
Knowledge Society, it would have been very difficult, 
if not impossible, to have widened the biographical 
circle, so as to include many of those who were daily 
coming into contact with members of its committee 
in the friendships or the rivalries of Politics or 
letters. When the superintendence of the Society 
had ceased, the "English Cyclopaedia" was free to 
take a wider range. It was with considerable re- 
luctance that, as the conductor of the enlarged work. 

Ch. XI.] 



I decided upon the introduction of the names of 
living persons, British and Foreiga There are, 
doubtless, grave objections to such a course ; but the 
advantages, looking at them strictly in the literary 
point of view, are very manifest. A Cyclopaedia that 
deals only with those of whom it may speak with 
the absolute freedom of the "honest chronicler" 
who is to keep the honour of the dead from corrup- 
tion, must be, if not half a century, at least three or 
four decades behind the wants of the existing gene- 
ration. This is an era in no respects more remark- 
able than for the long lives of many eminent men. 
Lord Lyndhurst, for example, died in 1863, at the 
age of ninety-one. Because his place was not in the 
necrology of the century till that year, is the histo- 
rical student to learn nothing from a biographical 
dictionary of the John Singleton Copley, who was 
counsel for Watson and Thistlewood in 1817? 
William Mulready died in 1863, at the age of 
seventy-eight. The young Irishman was a student 
of the Boyal Academy in 1801. He was a Boyal 
Academician in 1816. Was the most successful rival 
of Wilkie not to be noticed in a popular biography 
whOst his works were still the theme of admiration, 
and the old man could still look critically, but gene- 
rously, upon the productions of celebrated artists 
who were unborn, or were mere boys, when he was 
in the zenith of his fame ? Difficulties in such an 
undertaking there unquestionably were ; but these 
were to be overcome by obtaining, wherever possible, 
from living persons themselves authentic materials ; 
and above all, by avoiding rash inferences and hypo- ^ 
thetical explanations. 

Photography, in spite of the protests of land- 

Q 2 

Digitized by 



scape painters and portrait painters, has taken rank 
amongst the Fine Arts. Its imperfect beginnings 
only could have been noticed in the " Penny Cyclo- 
paedia." When Arago, in 1839, communicated to the 
French Academy of Sciences that Daguerre had dis- 
covered a process by which objects could be faithfully 
represented by other agencies than the hand of man, 
the world was at first incredulous, as if an attempt 
had been made to revive the middle-age miracles. 
Englishmen came home from Paris with dim repre- 
sentations of buildings, and hideous copies of their 
own features, sun-painted on metal Such were the 
first Daguerreotypes. Mr. Fox Talbot, who had been 
working out this discovery at the same period as 
Daguerre, soon produced his Talbotypes on paper, 
and, in 1841, described his process to the Society of 
Arts. But, as yet, photographic portraits and land- 
scapes were regarded as mere curiosities. In twenty 
years photography was to bestowan amount of pleasure 
upon every class of society which had never been 
attained in any age by the imitative arts. It may 
not be too much to regard it as one of the special 
blessings of a beneficent Providence, that, at a period 
when steam navigation has dispersed the European 
races over the most distant regions of the habitable 
globe, there should have sprung up an invention 
which brings into the dwelling of the colonizer, 
whether a mansion or a cabin, the very scenes of 
the home he has left, and the images of the loved 
ones from whom he is separated. 

This leads me briefly to advert to the Geographical 
department of the " Penny Cyclopaedia.'' This sec- 
tion also stopped short in 1843, in tracing that 
march of English adventure which had made new 

Digitized by 

Ch.. XL] 



nations in the days of Elizabeth, but which had not 
yet accomplished the wonderfal development of the 
Australian colonies during the reign of Victoria. 
There was a great deal to be done by the encyclopse- 
dist of the next twenty years. But what was done 
by us, especially in the department of Physical 
Geography, was of a character very diflferent from 
the matter that had previously occupied the most 
elaborate geographical works. The chief contributor 
was Mr, William Wittich, who became Teacher of 
German at University College. I have heard Mr. 
Long declare, that he considered Mr. Wittich as the 
father of descriptive geography in this country. Of 
many other contributors to the geographical depart- 
ment, I must be content to mention the names of Sir 
Francis Beaufort, Sir J. F. Davis, Colonel Jaokson, Mr. 
Smith, Secretary of King's College, and Mr. Means. 
Karl Kitter, the celebrated professor at Berlin, wrote 
the important article "Asia." Of Andr^ Vieusseux 
and of William Weir, whose contributions were exten- 
sive, I shall have subsequently to speak. 

In the Natural BKstory division of the Cyclopaedia, 
I must especially mention Mr. William John Broderip, 
who contributed nearly all the Zoological articles 
of the entire work. No more remarkable example 
could have been presented of a man zealously dis- 
charging responsible oflSicial duties, and finding his 
best recreation in scientific pursuits, than Mr. Bro- 
derip. He was for thirty-four years one of the most 
iadustrious and upright Police Magistrates of the 
Metropolis. In writing a brief memoir of this 
learned and at the same time entertaining naturalist, 
I h^ve said : " His articles in the ' Cyclopaedia ' are 
models of scientific exactness and popular attrac- 


tion ; and whilst they have instructed and delighted 
thousands of readers, have won the suffirages of the 
most fastidious, even amongst those who are slow to 
believe that the solid and the amusing have no neces- 
sary antagonism.'' In the section of Geology, Mr. John 
Phillips, Professor of that science in King's College, 
was a most valuable contributor. In that of Botany, 
Dr. Lindley wrote all the articles up to the letter R 
Dr. Edwin Lankester, who had studied under Dr. 
Lindley at University College, gave also his valuable 
assistance to the original work, and subsequently 
edited the Natural History Division of its successor. 

In Law and Jurisprudence, the "Penny Cyclopaedia" 
was a most complete repository of information, histo- 
rical and practical The constitution of the Useful 
Knowledge Society, of which many eminent lawyers 
were members, gave an authority to its legal aftides 
even before the names of its contributors were given 
to the world. As there were also eminent physicians 
and surgeons, the same prestige attached to its articles 
on Medical Science. A mere catalogue of the names 
of these professional men would scarcely be interest- 
ing, unless I were to trace the career of some who 
were only slightly known at the period of their early 
contributions, but who have subsequently risen into 
high reputation. Such, amongst the medical contri- 
butors, was the late Dr. Baley, whose useful life was 
so grievously cut short by a railway accident ; such 
was Mr. J. Paget, the distinguished surgeon ; such, 
Mr. John Simon, who, as the medical officer of the 
General Board of Health, has accomplished so much 
for sanitary reform. Dr. Bobert Dickson, whose 
benevolence is as conspicuous as his knowledge, 
contributed all the articles on Materia Medica. Nor 

Ch. XL] 



must I omit Dr. Southwood Smith, who supplied 
many of the articles on Anatomy, Medicine, and 
Physiology. I was his publisher also of that inte- 
resting popular work, "The Philosophy of Health/' 
Now that his most useful life has closed, I may 
mention a circumstance which I should have hesi- 
tated previously to print. Dr. Smith's book, " The 
Use of the Dead to the Living," chiefly led to the 
passing of the Anatomy Act, by which an end was 
put to the necessity of the hatefiil tribe of Resur- 
rection Men, and to such atrocities as those which 
had been committed in Edinburgh and London, 
where adults and children had been systematically 
murdered by the vampires of modem times, who 
sold their bodies to the anatomical schools. Dr. 
Southwood Smith had been the intimate friend of 
Jeremy Bentham. It was the wish of the venerable 
philosopher that his body should be dissected, and 
for that purpose he left it to the enlightened phy- 
sician who had been his attendant at the time of his 
death. Having called upon Dr. Smith at his house in 
the dty, as I was going away he said, in his quiet 
manner, " Would you like to see Bentham?" I could 
not quite comprehend him; but leading the way 
into his hall, he unlocked, with a small key that 
hung to his watch-chain, a mahogany case, some- 
thing like the sedan chair of a past generation. 
Behind an inner covering of plate-glass sat the 
figure of the old jurist in the identical clothes 
which Jie had worn living; a waxen face, round 
which was clustering the white hair, was covered 
with his well-known broad-brimmed hat, and he 
leant on the trusty stick with which he had so 
often paced the Green Park. I long stood absorbed 


in many thoughts of the great man's career. Dr. 
Smith withdrew the glass, opened the few buttons of 
the waistcoat, and then showed the skeleton, which 
preached the same lesson to the pride of human 
wisdom as the skull of " poor Yorick " did to the 
gibes that were wont " to set the table in a roar." 

Collected for the purpose of separate publication 
in the remodelled "English Cyclopaedia," it was 
found that the biographical articles of the original 
work constituted its largest division. It may, there- 
fore, be concluded that in this place I can only 
notice the leading features of that division, and a few 
only of its contributors. Those who wrote the arti-r 
cles on«history and literature, ancient and modem, 
famished, for the most part, the series of biographies. 
It may be sufficient to point to articles by Thomas 
Hewitt Key, George Comewall Lewis, George Long, 
Leonard Schmitz, Dr. Donaldson, Philip Smith, and 
William Smith, to show how completely these lives 
were calculated to supersede the inaccurate sciolisms 
of Lemprifere and similar manufacturers of Classical 
Dictionaries, Nor is it necessary that I should 
particularly specify those who brought their histo- 
rical and literary knowledge to build up the com- 
pact, but yet full, Biographia Britannica, which our 
work presents, even without the subsequent addition 
of living names. The writers of these articles are 
generally well known in their more extended repu- 
tations as authors of separate works. But there 
was a class of writers whom Mr. Long had the good 
fortune to collect around him, who had previously 
added little to the stores of English learning. I 
allude to the eminent foreigners who wrote in the 
" Cyclopaedia," some in our language, others in their 

Ch. XL] 



own. The editorial care either corrected the foreign 
idioms — sometimes peeping out of their English 
compositions — or procured accurate translations of 
the French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portu- 
guese, in which some wrote. One foreigner whose 
English required little correction, if any, was Andr^ 
Vieusseux. I had been intimate with this most 
amiable and accomplished man from the time when 
he wrote in the " Quarterly Magazine." I had pub- 
lished, in 1824, his delightful work, "Italy and 
the Italians." My pleasant and improving inter- 
course with him was renewed when he became one 
of the most industrious contributors to the " Cyclo- 
paedia." His life had been a varied and eventful 
one. As a youth he had seen the bloody course of 
revolution in Naples, when it was doubtful which 
was most to be hated — monarchical oppression or 
democratic fury. He had fought in the Peninsular 
War, as an oflSicer in one of the foreign legions. 
After the peace, he had settled in England upon a 
small independence, to which he was enabled to 
add by literary labour. His conscientious devotion 
to the right performance of whatever he undertook, 
his large experience, and his correct taste, made him 
one of our most valuable coadjutors. In German 
literature, Dr. Leonard Schmitz was as useful as in 
classical Pascual de Gayangos, who had married an 
English lady, also wrote fluently in our language 
during his residence amongst us. His perfect ac- 
quaintance with Arabic gave him a mastery over the 
general and literary history of Spain during the 
mediaeval period, which few of his countrymen have 
attained. His biographies in the " Cyclopaedia " — 
Spanish and Oriental — ^are, therefore, particularly 

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valuable. Another great Oriental scholar, Frederick 
Augustus Bosen, was the Sanskrit Professor in 
University CoUega In the "Penny Cyclopsedia" 
he wrote all the articles on Oriental literature from 
" Abbasides " to " Ethiopian Language." His labours 
were terminated by his sudden death in 1837, at 
the age of thirty-two. This distinguished native of 
Hanover acquired in England a host of friends, whose 
admiration he had woh by his high intellectual at- 
tainments, and whose love was commanded by his 
gentle manners and kind heart. Count Erasinski 
was one of the Polish exiles in England to whom 
literature had become the only means of support. 
He cafne here on a diplomatic mission, in 1880, from 
the revolutionary government, of which Prince Czar- 
toryski was president. In 1831, when the hope of 
Polish independence was again crushed, he dwelt 
among us a penniless fugitive, until his death in 
1855. His contributions to the " Penny Cyclopaedia" 
were on the Sclavonian history and literature. 

I have passed over Music, in referring to the de- 
partment of Fine Arts, that I may more particularly 
notice the amount of musical taste and knowledge 
amongst us twenty years ago. Mr. William Ayrton 
could scarcely, during the time I knew him, be called 
a Professor of Music, although some few years pre- 
vious the opera had been under his management. A 
man of education, he moved in the best society ; 
whilst his abiUty as a writer, combined with his 
extensive musical knowledge, fitted him to contribute 
the whole series of musical biographies to the 
" Penny Cyclopaedia." He had previously edited for 
me a work which, I may flatter myself, contributed 
something to that great change which has made the 

Ch. XL] 



English of the reign of Queen Victoria as musical a 
people as their ancestors of Queen Elizabeth's time. 
The moveable types used in the " Musical Library " 
furnished the means of producing vocal and instru- 
mental music from the best masters^ in weekly sheets 
of eight pages, sold at about a quarter of the price of 
the ordinary sheet of the music shops. The period 
was then only beginning when an idea penetrated 
the Enghsh mind, that in music, as in the other Fine 
Arts, anything but the common-place and vulgar could 
have any charms for the bulk of the people. Pro- 
found philosophers believed that nothing else could 
please, theatrical managers afl3irmed that nothing else 
would draw. The great and fashionable firmly 
relied upon the unchangeableness of the opinion— 
though a hundred and twenty years old — of Isaac 
BickerstaflF, who says : " In Italy, nothing is more 
frequent than to hear a cobbler working to an opera 
tune ; but, on the contrary, our honest countrymen 
have so little an inclination to music, that they sel- 
dom begin to sing till they are drunk." In the 
"Penny Magazine" for 1834, it was said: "The 
theatres and other public places have administered 
to bad taste : little or nothing except trash has been 
open to the people ; and they have been deemed 
barbarians because they took what fell in their way, 
and showed no love for what they never had an 
opportunity of knowing. We trust, however, that, 
for the friture, good music, like good Uterature, may 
be made accessible to all ; and that, as a mode of 
enlarging the cheap enjoyments of a poor man's life, 
even every village school in the kingdom may possess 
the means of teaching (as they are taught at similar 
establishments in several districts of Germany, in 

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Bohemia^ and even in the snow-covered, poverty- 
stricken island of Iceland) the art of reading musical 
notation and the first rudiments of music." 

I have traced the greatest work of the Useful 
Knowledge Society to its completion at the end of 
eleven years. Let me revert to its opening period, 
when the friends of Popular Education had not only 
to build up the walls of their citadel, but to work 
with weapons at their side. When the "Penny 
Magazine," duiing two years' existence, had reached 
a sale quite unprecedented in Popular Literature, 
and after the first year's publication, with marked 
success, of the Penny Cyclopaedia," a series of 
attacks, as unceasing as they were virulent, were 
dii-ected against the Society for the DiflFdsion of 
Useful Knowledge, and against me, especially, as 
their chief instrument in the fearful revolution 
which was threatening to destroy the legitimate 
thrones and dominations of the empire of books. 
The Society was a monopoly ; the " Penny Maga- 
zine" was "a glorious humbug upon the reading 
portion of the operatives," for it was nothing more 
than a bookseller's speculation, which "brings in 
Knight some thousands per annum ;" the idea of the 
" Penny Cyclopaedia " was stolen from a respectable 
man, who was struggling to maintain a young family, 
" by a trader, who, because he has the name of the 
Society painted on his sign-board, seems to think 
himself entitled to throw off all the ordinary re- 
straints to which fair rivalry in trade is subject * the 
writers in these works were literary drudges— obscure 
literary drudges, without a single idea in their heads, 
save what they filch from the British Museum. 

* Ante, p. 200. 

Ch. XL] 



Such was the temper in which the " New Monthly 
Magazine " poured out the vials of its wrath on my 
devoted head. It was necessary to publish a few 
facts, with very little comment, to show the false- 
hoods and absurdities of the daily, weekly, and 
monthly assaults of this complexion. That was 
done, with the sanction of the Society, in the " Com- 
panion to the Almanac,'' in December, 1833. On 
the 15th of February, 1834, I published No. I. of 
" The Printing Machine, a Eeview for the Many f 
and therein, in an article entitled "The Literary 
Newspapers," I uttered, perhaps with more spirit 
than prudence, some unpalatable remonstrances 
against the systematic hostiUty of the two journals 
which I described as "the advanced guard of the 
army of letters, who carry small baggage on their 
march." The attacks soon became more personal 

Towards the end of that February, I was proposed 
as a member of the " Garrick Club." In the second 
week of March a very dear friend, my solicitor, 
Mr. Thomas Clarke, came to me to say that the 
Committee of that Club were hesitating about my 
-election, as I had been excluded from a Club which 
had been formed out of members of the "Literary 
Union," such exclusion involving some serious impu- 
tation upon my character and conduct. I had been 
a member of the " Literary Union " for three or 
four years. Several gentlemen immediately under- 
took to ascertain the nature of the charges against 
me ; and I was in a few days authorised by two of 
these friends to rest the vindication of my character 
upon the ground that the imputation ma^e in the 
Committee of the " Literary Union Club," appointed 
for the formation of a New Club, was, that I had 

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formerly failed in busdness — ^and dishonourably failed 
— ^that I " had made a bad bankruptcy." In twenty- 
four hours I had possessed myself of the means of 
my vindication. The publication of an indignant 
letter addressed by me to the Committee, accom- 
panied by the documents which they had refused to 
look at, was my only course. That paper was circu- 
lated by me to a limited extent. It consisted of 
letters from my three trustees, a London printer, a 
London stationer, and a banker of Windsor, and one 
also from the solicitor to the trustees. They were to 
the effect that my suspension of payments was not to 
be attributed in the slightest degree to any miscon- 
duct, or even imprudence, on my part ; but was an 
unavoidable result of the Panic of 1825, which so 
materially diminished the value of all bookselling 
property ; that the final resolution to place my affairs 
under the management of trustees was come to by 
my creditors with the greatest reluctance to interfere 
with my own administration of my estate ; that the 
anxious and self-denying cai-e with which I abstained 
from receiving a single shilling of its proceeds after 
that resolution had been come to, was a striking 
instance of firmness and integrity ; that I had been 
imvarying in my determination not to consider the 
release from my engagements as at all binding, 
except in a legal point of view, and had unweariedly 
laboured to discharge every debt in full, just as if no 
such acquittance had taken place, going far beyond 
what they thought a duty to my own family. 

It is not from any motive of self-exaltation that I 
revive this matter, never to touch it again. My own 
deep feeling of gratitude to the eminent men with 
whom I was associated in the Useful Knowledge 



Society is called forth now, when I glance at the 
many warm letters from them which this occurrence 
produced. Nor do I feel less grateful to Mr. Coates, 
their secretary, for his letters to me at this juncture. 
My friends were anxious that the stigma of my 
exclusion from this so-called Literary Club should be 
effectually wiped off by my election to the most 
distinguished Club in London. Lord Lansdowne, in 
a letter addressed to the Lord Chancellor, full of the 
most hearty kindness towards me, declared his 
opinion upon the wishes that my friends had ex- 
pressed on my behalf : " There is no man in England 
better entitled than Knight to come into the Athe- 
naeum," and he subsequently agreed to propose me 
as a member. This Lord Lansdowne did, with a full 
knowledge of the circumstances. The Bishop of 
Winchester, whose conduct to me since 1827 had 
been marked by unvarying kindness and generosity, 
wished to support my nomination. Many other lead- 
ing members of that Club— and I was glad to have 
Mr. Murray amongst the number — ^volunteered their 
aid. But party feeling then ran high, and I was 
unwilling to risk a contest, which might renew what 
was very disagreeable to me as a subject of public 
discussion. The " Garrick dub Committee " elected 
me after a brief interval. I became also one of the 
early members of the " Reform Club." 

llie hostility against the Society for the Diffusion 
of Useful Knowledge, which had been manifested by 
a small section of the periodical press, gradually died 
out. Public opinion was louder than the cuckoo cry 
of monopoly" that was shouted by fashionable 
publishers and echoed by a clique of the regular pro- 
fessors of "ia litt4ratv/re facile" Those who wrote 

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for the Society had been called in derision "com- 
pilers." The "men of genius" who despised industry 
as dulness had their little day of sarcasm against 
"literary drudges," but in the end the public many was 
too strong for the exclusive few. The bookselling trade 
— ^publishers as well as retailers — ^had also discovered 
that, in the manifest extension of readers, a reliance 
might be placed upon the principle of increased 
numbers co-operating to purchase cheap books, and 
that enlarged returns would make up for diminished 
profits upon dear books. They had discovered that the 
trade of books would not be destroyed by cheap weekly 
sheets. If they had not arrived, through a process 
of reasoning, at the belief that the more people read 
the more they will read, they had the evidence of 
their own ledgers to inform them that the literary 
returns of the United Kingdom had nearly doubled 
since the terrible era of cheapness which commenced 
in 1827. Books, which at the beginning of the cen- 
tury had been a luxury, had now become a necessity. 
Still the objection was urged that, however extended 
was the market for popular literature, the quality of 
the supply must as a matter of course be low. The 
"Penny Cyclopaedia" furnished a very sufficient 
answer to such reasoners. 

The calumnies with which I had been personally 
assailed had not accomplished their object — ^that of in- 
juring me as a man of business. They did not lessen 
the regard of my old friends, nor did they cut me 
off from the confidence which secured me a new and 
important connexion. Within another year I became 
associated as Publisher with the great measure of 
Local Administration that had received the sanction 
of Parliament. 

Ch. XI.] 



Towards the close of 1833 was published by autho- 
rity, " Extracts from the Information received by His 
Majesty's Commissioners, as to the Administration 
and Operation of the Poor Laws." I have mentioned 
that at the end of 1832 I had been permitted by the 
Lord Chancellor to look over some portion of this 
evidence. The facts of which I derived a knowledge 
from a partial glance at these papers, and the dis- 
cussions which arose upon them, made a deep im- 
pression on my mind. 

Some preliminary extracts from the large mass of 
evidence were published early enough to enable me 
to allude to their bearing, in "An Address to the 
Subscribers to the Windsor and Eton Public Library," 
which I delivered in October, 1833. I said "I was 
forcibly struck by some evidence given before the 
P6or Law Commissioners, which went to show that 
in those parishes where the agricultural labourers 
had, to the greatest extent, lost their feeling of in- 
dependence and self-respect, and were consequently 
ignorant and ill-informed, they had proportionally 
fallen off even in the knowledge and practice of what 
constitutes a good workman in their own business. 
This is, indeed, one of the many proofs that a man 
will become a better ploughman or a better hedger, 
by knowing something more than how to drive a 
team or cut a stake. It was truly said before these 
same commissioners by the assistant-overseer of this 
very town, that he could tell in a moment, by the 
neat or the slovenly appearance of the cottages, 
whether the tenants of them were, or were not, re- 
ceiving parochial relief I believe, if we were to 
examine the matter still more narrowly, .we should 
find in the same appearance of the dwellings of the 



poor a pretty correct indication of the state of know- 
ledge amongst their inmates. Books are, no doubt, 
the readiest roads to knowledge ; but there may be 
a great deal of knowledge, and a great deal of taste, 
without any very extensive acquaintance with books. 
If I enter the premises of a working man, and find 
his garden deformed with weeds — ^his once latticed 
porch broken and imseemly — ^his walls discoloured — 
his hearth dirty, — know that there is little self- 
respect in the master of that hovel, and that he flies 
from his comfortless home to the nightly gratification 
which the ale-house supplies. But show me the trim 
crocus in the spring, or the gorgeous dahlia in the 
autumn, flourishing in his neat enclosure — let me see 
the vine or the monthly rose covering his cottage 
walls in regulated luxuriance— let me find within, 
the neatly sanded floor, the well-polished furniture, a 
few books, and a print or two over his chimney, and 
I am satisfied that the occupiers of that cottage have 
a principle at work within them which will do much 
to keep them from misery and degradation." 

When the entire evidence was published, as well 
as the first Export of the Commissioners, I could 
honestly express my convictions of the detestable 
nature of the system under which we had been living 
up to that period. In " The Journal of Education " 
for July, 1834, 1 wrote an article on '* Pauperism and 
Education," which I think was not an exaggerated 
representation of a state of society which has, in a 
great degree, happily passed away. The whole of 
our vicious system of administering the Poor Laws 
was stimulated by the general ignorance of the rate- 
payers. The practical men, as they called themselves, 
who turned up their noses at political philosophers, 

Digitized by 

ClL XI.] 



contrived to get some ten or twenty millions of public 
money annually to pass through their fingers, in the 
shape of poor's-rates, and church-rates, and highway- 
rates, and county-rates ; and to apply these moneys, 
each according to his own fancy, with that intuitive 
perception of what is just and expedient that produced 
the follies and miseries described in so many particu- 
lars in the evidence then recently published. When 
we considered how many important functions the 
higher and middle classes of this country were called 
upon to discharge — ^member of Parliament, magis- 
trate, corporator, road-commissioner, churchwarden, 
overseer, surveyor of highways, trustee of charities — 
it was almost incredible that a glimmering of political 
linowledge should not break through the darkness 
visible " of our various systems of public education. 
But there was another consequence of the ignorance 
and indifference of the upper and middle classes which 
was not quite so manifest an evil as their waste of 
the public money. While I held that the poor-laws 
eould not be better administered until those who 
administered them were better educated, I main- 
tained that the necessity for a vigilant, and even a 
severe, administration of them would never cease, 
imtil the working classes could be raised by im- 
proved education completely above a dependence 
upon charitable relief, whether forced or voluntaiy. 
The poor man must be made a thinking man— a 
man capable of intellectual pleasures ; he must be 
purified in his tastes, and elevated in his understand- 
ing; he must be taught to comprehend the real 
dignity of all useful employments ; he must learn to 
look upon the distinctions of society without envy 
or servility ; he must respect them, for they are open 



to him as well as to others ; but he must respect 
himself more. The best enjoyments of our nature 
might be common to him and the most favoured by 
fortune: let him be taught how to appreciate them. 
Diminish the attractions of his sensual enjoyments 
by extending the range of his mental pleasures. It 
was not enough to teach him what was taught in 
our national schools. Oberlin, the pastor of Wald- 
bach^ whose memoirs were published about this 
time, did not fear that he should get no labourers, 
because he instructed his poor children in botany, 
and drawing, and music. 

In March, 1834, Mr. Edwin Chadwick— with 
whom I had then the pleasure to form an intimacy 
of which I have had the benefit for thirty years — 
wrote to me, " The Government will have up-hill 
work to carry the Poor-Law Reform, and will need 
all direct and indirect aid that the press and good 
men can give them." No effort of the press could 
be more effective than Mr. Chadwick's Report, as 
one of the Assistant-Commissioners of Inquiry. Its 
merits were so striking that he was. at [once raised 
to the higher position of a Commissioner of that 
Inquiry. The "up-hill work," which Mr. Chadwick 
anticipated, endured in both Houses of Parliament 
from the 17th of April to the 14th of August, when 
the Poor Law Amendment Act received the Royal 
assent. It empowered his Majesty to appoint tluree 
Commissioners for England and Wales, to carry the 
Act into execution. Those appointed were — ^The 
Right Hoa Thomas Frankland Lewis, John George 
Shaw Lefevre, Esq., and George Nicholls, Esq. The 
Secretary to the Board, also appointed by the Crown, 
was Edwin Chadwick, Esq. 

Digitized by 

Ch. XL] 



On the 6th of December, 1834, the first Union of 
Parishes was formed. In September, 1835, the Com- 
missioners published their first Annual Eeport, in 
which they announced that they had united 2066 
parishes, constituting 112 unions. During this 
gradual introduction of the new measure, I had been 
appointed " Publisher by Authority " to the Com- 
mission. My appointment was not an affair of 
favouritism, as it was represented to be. Under the 
schedule to the Act, certain forms were prescribed 
for the administration of unions, including a few for 
keeping their accounts. These were necessarily open 
to all persons to print and to publish. Account 
books were prepared and advertised, but they were 
to be sold to the Local Boards at such an extrava- 
gantly dear rate, that if all the parishes of the 
country were to be embodied in unions, the mere 
expense of stationery would have been a frightful 
item in the annual charges. I saw pretty clearly 
that the demand for forms and books of account 
would soon be a very large one, and that the prin- 
ciple of cheapness might be applied here with the 
same advantage as in other productions of the 
printing press. I laid my plans before a Board at 
Somerset House. The attention with which the 
three Commissioners and their Secretary listened 
to me was most encouraging in my attempt to 
surmount the diflSculty which presented itself, and 
which was also a real embarrassment to the Com- 
missioners. In three weeks many imions would 
come into operation. It was necessary that all their 
accounts should be kept upon a uniform system. 
Other forms of Out-door Relief and of Workhouse 
management were required besides those prescribed 


by the Act The experience that I had gained in 
my Windsor days enabled me to suggest some of 
-the more important of these. Mr. Nicholls, whose 
capacity for high administrative functions had been 
trained in the humbler but important position of 
overseer of his own parish of Southwell— where he 
introduced some of those effective reforms which 
were embraced in the new Act — suggested many 
valuable forms, and bestowed upon mine the most 
careful supervision. By working night and day, the 
books of account were ready to be sold to every 
union and every parish as they came under the 
operation of the Act. If my appointment was not 
an affair of favoritism, neither was it one of mono- 
poly. It was stipulated that, whilst the authority 
under which I published would entitle me to receive 
early official communications, the right of printing 
and publishing whatever emanated from the Com- 
mission should be enjoyed by any others who should 
print the books correctly and publish them as 
cheaply as myself. Upon this principle I have har- 
moniously worked with the Poor-Law Commissioners 
and the Poor-Law Board during thirty years. 

I cannot pass over the days of my early inter- 
course with the Poor-Law Commissioners, without 
adverting to the unvarying kindness which I re- 
ceived from the two gentlemen with whom I was 
most brought in contact— those eminent public 
servants who are now Sir John Shaw Lefevre and 
Sir George NichoUs. To both I am grateful for 
many tokens of regard. With Sir George Nicholls 
I have enjoyed for many years a friendship which I 
cannot value too highly. 



JEXT to the " Cyclopaedia " in the costliness 
of its production, if not in intrinsic im- 
portance, was the "Gallery of Portraits," 
which I published under the superinten- 
dence of the Society. It was issued in monthly 
numbers at half-a-crown each number, containing 
three portraits with biographies. The object of the 
publication was to present likenesses of those emi- 
nent men of modem times who have given the 
greatest impulse to their age. In the selection of 
subjects for portraiture, the Committee was occupied 
from the beginning of 1832 (the first number being 
published in May), to the midsummer of 1834, 
Their occupation was of a most pleasant and im- 
proving kind, for there was scarcely a name sug- 
gested that did not involve some discussion upon 
the merits of those proposed to be represented, or 
some statement of the sources from which authentic 
portraits might be obtained. In this latter respect 
the influence of the Society, or that of its individual 
members, was most valuable, by securing the admis- 
sion of copyists to Eoyal Galleries and private 
collections. British and Foreign statesmen, warriors, 
divines, men of science and letters, artists, were 
thus assigned their due honour in a work, which was 
essentially different in its plan fix)m the " Portraits 
of Illustrious Personages of Great Britain," by 

Digitized by 




Edmund Lodge, Norroy King of Arms. Interesting 
as much of Mr. Lodge's information was in its genea- 
logical and antiquarian features, the book was not 
what it professed to be, " A Gallery of the Illustrious 
Dead" — "A Collection of Portraits and Lives of 
British Worthies." It was a collection of kings and 
queens, of noble lords and ladies and officers of state. 
It was, with very few exceptions, not a gallery of the 
intellectually illustrious. Of the chief glories of our 
nation — ^the poets, historians, philosophers, divines, 
of the inventors and discoverers in physical and 
abstract science, of our most distinguished artists, 
there was not one in this " Gallery of the Illustrious 
Dead," unless he could claim a place there by some 
titular or official distinction. Very diflTerent was the 
range of the gallery which I considered it an honour 
to publish, and the large expenses of which I cheer^ 
fully bore until the work became remunerative. 
The merit of suggesting it, and of most assiduously 
labouring to carry it worthily forward, is due to 
Mr, Bellenden Ker. The superintendence of the 
engravings was confided to Mr. Lupton, a mezzo- 
tinto engraver of the first eminence. Mr. Arthur 
Malkin was the editor of the biographies. These are 
all distinguished for careful research and an unpre- 
tending style. A few of the lives were written by 
his personal friends, amongst whom was Arthur H. 
Hallam — ^the A. H. H. of Tennyson's "In Memo- 
riam" — ^who died in 1833. From De Qurncey I 
obtained a spirited memoir of Milton ; and it was to 
me a matter of regret, that its length was so out of 
proportion to the general character of the work, that 
some curtailment was absolutely necessary. 
The 13th of August, 1836, was a remarkable day 

Digitized by 

Ch. XIL] 



in the annals of the press of this country, for on that 
day two Acts of Parliament received the Boyal 
Assent, which materially influenced all the com- 
mercial arrangements for rendering knowledge, poli- 
tical or literary, more accessible to the bulk of the 
people. The first of these (a 52), was to reduce 
the duties on first-class paper firom three-pence per 
pound to three-hal^nCe, so that the former tax of 
three-halfpence upon second-class paper should apply 
to paper of all descriptions. The second of these 
(c. 76), was to redupe the stamp on newspapers 
from fourpence to a penny. I have previously 
mentioned (page 180), a debate in the House of 
Commons, on the 22nd of May, 1834, upon a motion 
for the repeal of the newspaper stamp duties. I 
had at that time learnt something of the desire of 
several members of the government, including Lord 
Brougham and Lord Althorp, that these duties 
should be wholly repealed. Had that been the case, 
a difficulty would have arisen as to the transmission 
of unstamped newspapers by post In a letter to 
Lord Althorp, I suggested that a penny stamped 
frank should be issued by the government. Mr. 
M. D. Hill, in the debate which I have mentioned, 
described the nature of this suggestion. In the 
" Companion to the Newspaper," for June the 1st, 
1834, there appeared a paper of considerable length 
" prepared several months ago for the information of 
some officisd personages who took a strong interest 
in the question of the repeal of the stamp duties on 
newspapers.*' In that paper it is said, " In order to 
allow the unstamped papers to pass through the 
Post-offiice, it is proposed that franks should be sold 
(say by the vendors of stamps), at a penny each. It 


will be necessary to make the postage payable by 
the person sending the paper ; for otherwise, a great 
many papers, especially the very low-priced ones, 
would be refused by persons to whom they were 
addressed. It is obvious that a direct payment to 
the Post-office, by the transmitter of the paper, 
would be highly inconvenient, if not impossible. 
Mr. Sjiight's plan of a stamped frank obviates the 
difficulty ; and it would facilitate the transmission of 
all printed sheets under a certain weight" It has 
always been to me a matter of honest pride that 
this suggestion contributed, in however small a 
degree, to the efficient working of the magnificent 
system of penny-postage. Mr. Bowland Hill, in his 
celebrated pamphlet on Post-office Reform, pub- 
lished in 1837, says, ^" A few years ago, when the 
expediency of entirely abolishing the newspaper 
stamp, and allowing newspapers to pass through 
the Post-office for one penny each, was under con- 
sideration, it was proposed by Mr. Chaiies Knight, 
the publisher, that the postage on newspapers might 
be collected by selling stamped wrappers at one 
penny each. Availing myself of this excellent sug- 
gestion, I propose the following arrangement : — ^Let 
stamped covers and sheets of paper be supplied to 
the public from the Stamp-office, or Post-office, as 
may be most convenient, and sold at such a price as 
to include the postage : letters so. stamped, might 
be put into the letter-box as at present" 

In 1836, my views, as to the total repeal of the 
Stamp Duty on Newspapers, were considerably al- 
tered from those of 1834, when, in suggesting a plan 
for the circulation of imstamped newspapers, I had 
adopted the opinion that the stamp, except as a 



postage payment, was injurious. I was apprehen- 
sive, as I was before the remoyal of the stamp in 
1856, that cheap newspapers would involve the de» 
gradation of journalism. I did not draw sound con- 
clusions from my own experience. I did not believe 
that Penny Papers would be as innoxious as Penny 
Magazines and Penny Cyclopaedias, and go on making 
readers, till the great body of those who read would 
prefer sound nutriment to the garbage which was 
offered them in the days of high taxation. As in 
most cases, my own interest gave a colour, I suppose, 
to my opinions. From the time when William 
Henry Ord was a contributor to " The Etonian," to 
the time when he was a Member of Parliament and 
a Lord of the Treasury, I had some degree of inti- 
macy, almost amounting to friendship, with this 
amiable and accomplished man. In 1836, in his 
official position, he had devoted himself to the great 
measure of the consolidation of the various Stamp 
Acts. The mass of obscure and confused enactments 
was to be swept away, and some intelligible fiscal 
measure was to be substituted. Mr. Ord devoted 
himself to the herculean task of preparing the way 
for the proposition which was brought forward by 
Mr. Spring Rice, then Chancellor of the Exchequer. 
The labour killed him. In the spring of 1836, I 
frequently saw him. We had many conversations 
on the subject of the Newspaper Stamp Duties and 
the Paper Duty. I fancied that if the government 
consented to abolish the Newspaper Stamp, they 
would retain the high Paper Duty. Mr. Ord and I 
came to the opinion that the safest and the best 
course would be -to lower both imposts. I wrote a 
pamphlet advocating this policy, which was circu- 

Digitized by 


lated amongst members of both Houses. Whether 
it had any eflTect upon thie settlement of the question 
is not for me to judge. At any rate, the reduction 
of the Paper Duty was to me a matter of vital im- 
portance ; and when that boon to the publishers of 
cheap books came into operation in the autumn, I 
felt that I had shaken off much of the insupportable 
weight of the " Old Man of the Sea," and went for- 
ward with the words of Milton in my heart : 

" To-morrow to fresh fields and pastures new." 

In 1835, Mr. Bellenden Ker having returned from 
a continental tour, gave me some numbers of a work 
then publishing in Germany, the "Bilder Bibel.*' 
An idea had once been entertained of the Useful 
Knowledge Society publishing a Bible — an illus- 
trated one ; but the notion was given up as imprac- 
ticable, and not in accordance with the principle 
upon which the Society was established. Mr. Ker s 
present revived the project in my mind. Such a 
publication, in which Art should be employed to 
delight the young, and learning should not be want- 
ing, offered a strong temptation to my individual 
enterprise. But the difficulty was to find a fit 
editor— one who held sound opinions upon the great 
cardinal points of religion, but who would at the 
same time content himself with furnishing an ample 
commentary on such passages as are connected with 
the History, Geography, Natural History, and Anti- 
quities of the Sacred Scriptures. Thus to limit the 
objects of the work was to make it acceptable to aU 
denominations of Christians. I had several conversa- 
tions on this matter with a very learned and liberal 
divine ; but he could not see his course clearly, in 

Digitized by 

Ch. XII.] 



avoiding theological questions* I often thought of 
dividing the labour ; and with this view I proposed 
to Mr. Kitto to furnish notes upon such subjects ad 
had come under his observation during his travels 
and sojourn in the East. This task he gladly under- 
took. In a few weeks he came to me and said — in 
that guttural voice to which I had now become 
accustomed — " I will undertake it all." We had a 
little merriment over the boldness of the proposal ; 
but I found that he was perfectly in earnest As a 
matter of prudence I proposed that he should com- 
plete the book of Genesis, and after that we could 
determine upon the future course of proceeding. He 
accomplished this to my complete satisfaction. The 
enthusiasm with which he entered upon the task 
was to me an earnest that he could well be trusted 
to carry it through faithfully. I released him from 
all other employments ; and so, at the beginning of 
1836, the first number of " The Pictorial Bible " was 
issued. In hitting upon the word " Pictorial " I felt 
that I was rather daring in the employment of a 
term which the Dictionaries pronounced as " not in 
use." It has now been rendered familiar by frequent 
employment I could not have easily found any 
other word that would have conveyed the intention 
to present wood-engravings of the scriptural designs 
of great painters ; of landscape scenes ; of costume ; 
of zoology and botany; of the remains of ancient 
architecture. " The Pictorial Bible " was completed 
in two years and a half. To me it was profitable, 
costly as were the wood-cuts. The profit was doubly 
welcome from the fact, that after having paid Mr. 
Kitto, during the progress of publication, 260i. a-year, 
I was enabled, upon the completion of the book, to 

254 PASSAQSS OF ▲ WOBKma life: [CIlXIL 

present him with a sum which seemed to him a little 
fortmie. A letter which Mr. Eitto wrote to me, as 
the work was proceeding, has been published by his 
biographer: ''I cannot begin any observations re- 
specting ' The Pictorial Bible/ without stating how 
highly I have been gratified and interested in the 
occupation it has afforded. It has been of infinite 
advantage as an exercise to my own mind. It has 
afforded me an opportunity of bringing nearly all my 
resources into play; my old biblical studies, the 
observations of travel, and even the very miscella- 
neous character of my reading, have all been highly 
useful to me in this imdertaking. The venerable 
character of the work on which I have laboured, the 
responsibility of annotation, and the extent in which 
such labour is likely to have influence, are also cir- 
cumstances which have greatly gratified, in a very 
definite manner, that desire of usefulness, which has, 
I may say, been a strong principle of action with me, 
and which owes its origin, I think, to the desire I 
was early led to entertain of finding whether the 
most adverse circumstances (including the privation 
of intellectual nourishment) must necessarily operate 
in excluding me from the hope of filling a useful 
place in society. The question was, whether I should 
hang a dead weight upon society, or take a place 
among its active men. I have struggled for the 
latter alternative, and it will be a proud thing for 
me if I am enabled to realise it. I venture to hope 
that I shall : and to you I am, in the most eminent 
degree, indebted for the opportunities, assistance, and 
encouragement you have always afforded me in my 
endeavours after this object" * 
* life of John Eitto, D.D., by John Eadie, D.D., 1857, p. S04. 

ch. m] 



My project of a "Pictorial Bible" was derived 
from Germany. But the " Bilder Bibel," a coarse 
and inelegant publication for the humbler classes, 
was the child of the " Biblia Pauperum " of the days 
of block-printing. The Bible of the poor was, like 
the Mysteries of the days before the drama, one of 
the means by which the Boman Church made its 
pageants and superstitions stand in the place of true 
religion. At the great festival at Mayence, in 1837, 
in honour of Gutenburg, the first printer, I was one 
of the crowd in the cathedral, where the Bishop of 
Mayence performed High Mass. The first Bible 
printed by Gutenburg was displayed. What a field 
for reflection was here opened ! The first Bible, in 
connexion with the imposing pageantries of Roman- 
ism — the Bible, in great part a sealed book to the 
body of the people— the service of Grod in a tongue 
unknown to the larger number of worshippers ; but 
that first Bible, the germ of millions of Bibles that 
have spread the light of Christianity throughout all 
the habitable globe ! When I considered that I was 
perhaps assisting in England, however humbly, to 
diffuse this light, I felt that new adaptations of the 
old instruments for advancing the great work of 
civilisation would arise, and again arise, — ^that the 
pen and the pencil would always create the fitting 
modes for reaching the minds of all — ^but that the 
cheapening of the means of knowledge had been for 
four centuries, and would always be, the one great 
principle which would never be laid aside. 

Of the ceremonies attending the inauguration of 
the statue of Gutenburg, on the 14th of August, I 
saw very little. On my way thither, in company 
with my eldest daughter and her husband, I had 


been bitten in the leg by a dog in an inn-yard at 
Ghent. We were detained at Brussels for a day by 
the ridiculous formalities attending the "vis^" of 
our passports, without which we could not proceed. 
Here I fell into the hands of a physician, whose 
surgical skill consisted in saying " Ce n'est rien," and 
sending me to travel on with a camphor lotion. At 
Mayence, on the morning of the festival, I painfully 
crept out of bed with a leg greatly inflamed, saw the 
ceremony in the cathedral, and then travelled back 
to Cologne by slow stages. Here, in a river-side inn^ 
I passed three or four sleepless nights, for the people 
were marching about with music and torches, and 
the cry of " Gutenburg, Gutenburg," came upon my 
ears till I was weary of the name. Fortunately I 
here met with a skilful Prussian surgeon ; the in- 
flammation was reduced I know not that I ever 
felt more satisfied with medical treatment than 
when the kind doctor said to mine host, " Bring a 
bottle of the best wine in your cellar, and to-morrow 
you may wish my patient a good journey." 

Upon the completion of the "Pictorial Bible," I em- 
barked somewhat boldly in other illustrated works^ 
That field was then almost exclusively my own. 
" Palestine " was the title of a new work undertaken 
by Mr. Kitto. It embraced the history of the Jews 
from the most remote ages to the period of their dis- 
persion, and the physical geography and the natural 
history of the Holy Land. The editor of the "Pictorial 
Bible" had now found his trae vocation, and he con- 
tinued to labour upon biblical subjects for me and 
for other publishers to the end of his Ufe. Some of 
the circumstances of that most interesting life have 
already been glanced at by me. They have been 

Ch. XII.] 



detailed by himself with a sincerity at once manly 
and modest in his little volume " The Lost Senses." 
He has there told how on a day of 1817 — "the last 
of twelve years of hearing and the first of twenty- 
eight years of deafness" — ^having ascended to the 
top of a ladder, and being in the act of stepping 
from it on to a roof which his father was slating, he 
lost his footing and fell backward into the paved 
court below. Very touching is his retrospect of that 
one moment of time which wrought in him a greater 
change of condition than any sudden loss of wealth 
or honours ever made in the state of man. He says, 
" Wealth may be recovered, and new honours won, 
or happiness may be secured without them; but 
there is no recovery, no adequate compensation, for 
such a loss as was on that day sustained. The wealth 
of sweet and pleasurable sounds with which the 
Almighty has filled the world, — of sounds modulated 
by affection, sympathy, and earnestness — can be ap- 
preciated only by one who has so long been thus 
poor indeed in the want of them, and who for so 
many weary years has sat in utter silence amid the 
busy hum of populous cities, the music of the woods 
and mountains, and, more than all, of the voices 
sweeter than music, which are in the winter season 
heard around the domestic heaiih." 

But John Kitto had his compensations in a future 
position of honour to himself, which brought with it 
the feeling that it had been won by earnest labour 
for the benefit of his fellow-men. 

"The Thousand and One Nights" — commonly 
known as the." Arabian Nights' Entertainments" — 
was a new translation from authentic Arabic originals, 
by Mr. Edward Lane, To those who knew that most 

VOL. II. 8 



popular book, which we had derived from the French 
translations, — ^it might in some cases be said from 
the inventions of Galland, — ^the changes in Mr. Lane*s 
work from the familiar inaccuracies of " genii " to 
"jin," and of " divan" to " dewaun," with fifty others 
of the same character, must have proved a stumbling 
block. Loud, too, was the complaint that Aladdin 
and his Lamp and the Forty Thieves were not to be 
found in these volumes. But there was here to be 
found, not a feeble and uncharacteristic style diluted 
out of affected French, but a bold and simple render- 
ing of Eastern modes of expression, often reminding 
us of our translation of the Bible. During the pro- 
gress of this work I had opportunities of cultivating 
Mr. Lane's acquaintance. From long residence in 
Cairo, his habits were those of the Orientalist, which 
he could scarcely lay aside even when he brought 
the accomplishments of an English gentleman into 
the best society of London. Soon after his return 
from the East, I sat next to him at a dinner-table 
when he whispered to me, " I cannot endure these 
chairs. I will tuck my legs under me and then I shall 
be comfortable." However repellant to desultory 
readers might have been Mr. Lane's version, it was 
soon discovered that no other ''Arabian Nighta" 
would meet the wants of those who really desired to 
understand Oriental customs and forms of speech, 
and was worthy of the admiration of educated per- 
sons. But its instant popularity, as well as its 
permanent utility, was comimanded by the designs 
of William Harvey — the most faithful as well as 
the most beautiful interpreters of the scenery and 
costume of the stories. The artist worked with 
the assistance of the author's mind, and the result 


was to produce an illustrated book which is almost 
without a rivaL 

The "Pictorial History of England" occupied 
seven years in a regular monthly course of publica- 
tion. It bore upon its title-page that it was produced 
"By George L. Craik and Charles MacFarlane, 
assisted by other Contributors." Four out of its 
eight volumes carried the narrative to the conclusion 
of the reign of George the Second. The other four 
volumes comprised only the reign of George the 
Third. This disproportion was fatal to the success 
which might have been anticipated if the whole work 
had been confined within as reasonable limits as the 
narrative of eighteen centuries, which preceded that 
of Hie latter half century. Mr. MacFarlane had 
undertaken the larger department of civil and mili- 
tary history. The history of religion, of literature, 
and of commerce, could not have been better confided 
than to Mr. Craik. In his history of the constitution 
he was occasionally assisted by Mr. Andrew Bisset, 
who has recently given an evidence that his charac- 
teristic views upon historical questions are unchanged. 
Sir Henry Ellis, my old and valued friend, lent some 
aid to the literature of the Saxon Period. The 
subject of the Arts was in the hands of an emi- 
nent architect, Mr. Edward Poynter, whose vari- 
ous accomplishments extended beyond the range of 
his own profession. Mr. Weir, who subsequently 
became the Editor of the " Daily News," wrote some 
graphic chapters on manners in the time of the third 
George. But upon Mr. MacFarlane rested the chief 
burden of this elaborate work. In the early half of 
its chronological divisions the subsidiary chapters 
rendered the historical narrative less difficult for one 

8 2 


writer to manage. For the work, like that of Dr. 
Henry, was broken up into separate divisions. I came 
subsequently to the conviction that this was not the 
true plan upon which a history of England ought to 
be conducted. " It may be convenient to a writer to 
treat of a period under distinct heads, such as those 
adopted by Dr. Hemy — Civil and Military ; Ecclesi- 
astical ; Constitution ; Learning ; Arts ; Commerce ; 
Manners; — ^but such an arrangement necessarily 
involves a large amount of prolixity and repetition. 
The intervals, also, at which the several divisions 
occur in works so conducted are much too long ; for, 
in a century and a half, or two centuries, social 
changes are usually so great, that the Laws, Learn- 
ing, Arts, and Customs at the beginning of such a 
period have little in common with those of its con- 
clusioa" ♦ What was convenient to one writer was 
a far greater convenience in a history upon which 
many writers were employed. The plan worked well 
to the end of the foui*th volume. Mr. MacFarlane 
had a considerable power of narration. He dealt 
more with military than with civil history, and in 
this his merit was conspicuous, for, by nature or by 
study, he had acquired a very competent notion (rf 
the military art. Upon paper he " could set an army 
in the field," and " the division of a battle " well 
undei-stood. But in other respects he had not the 
prime quality of the historian, impartiality. He was 
essentially a partizan. He did not run riot upon 
vexed questions of past times. He was moderate 
in his estimate of the virtues of Charles the First, 

• Popular History of England." By Charles Knight. Vol. I, 

Digitized by 

Ch. XII.] 



and would not have broken a lance in maintaining 
the purity of Mary Queen of Scots. But when he 
came to the French Revolution, then he was for 
" whole volumes in folio," that he might dwell upon 
its countless abominations, and say no word about 
the mighty changes which it was destined to produce 
upon the condition of the mass of society. He was a 
most agreeable companion, and an aflTectionate though 
not a safe friend. Had I been less attached to him I 
might, at all risks, have stopped the publication after 
the disproportion of the latter volumes had been 
manifested. But it is diflScult for a publisher to 
adopt such a course in a serial work, even if his 
interest called upon him to be despotic. He is in 
the hands of others ; and he must assent to their 
completion of the task which they had begun. To 
go on is dangerous; but to halt midway would be 

Digitized by 


I HEN I had entered upon the publication 
of pictorial works, which had become a 
marked feature of my business, I was 
naturally led, as one serial approached its 
completion, to look around me for its fit successor. 
The Bible, the History of England, were books of 
universal interest, in which I could carry out my 
plan of rendering wood-cuts real illustrations of the 
text, instead of fanciful devices — ^true eye-knowledge, 
sometimes more instructive than words. There was 
one large subject capable of such treatment. It was 
once the fashion to illustrate Pennant's "London" 
with prints of every age and character. There could 
be no want of authentic materials for such a book as 
I contemplated. 

Many descriptions of the great capital, whose past 
history is as interesting as its present state, had ap- 
peared at various periods. In the age of Elizabeth, 
John Stow published his " Survey of London, con- 
teyning the originall, antiquity, increase, modeme 
estate and description of that citie." The worthy 
citizen of London has been fortunate in the eulogy 
of his modem editor, William J. Thoms, who to the 
learning of the antiquary unites the graces of the 
accomplished writer. Well has he said in his intro- 
ductory notice, " If it were given to the reader to 
wield for a brief space the staff of Prospero, with 

Digitized by 

Ch. XIII.] 



power to conjure up a vision of London as it existed 
in some former period, there can be little doubt but 
that he would so employ his art that the London 
of Shakspeare should stand revealed before him. 
Happily, although Prospero's staff is broken, the 
conjurations of the mighty magic necessary to call 
up this busy pageant were lodged in the untiling 
pen of honest John Stow." Li the latter years of 
the Commonwealth, James Howell published his 
" Londinopolis ; Historical Discourse and Perlustra- 
tion of London.'* This is the city in which Milton 
had dwelt, as a boy, beneath his father s roof in 
Bread Street, to the time of his death in 1674, a 
blind old man. Then came laborious antiquaries to 
delve amongst registers and tomb-stones, with a 
taste fer inferior to the historians who had gone 
before them. There was a field open to the light 
essayist ; and Leigh Hunt made a very pleasant but 
very imperfect book of literary gossip about authors 
and players. As a subject for a pictorial book of 
some extent, I decided upon publishing " London " 
in weekly numbers. It was commenced in 1841 ; it 
was finished in 1844. I undertook the general 
conduct of the work. I had valuable contributors in 
Mr. Craik, Mr. Saunders, Mr. Weir, Mr. Piatt, Mr. 
Dodd, Mr. Planch^, and Mr. Fairholt. I adopted 
the plan of giving the names of the authors of each 
paper in a table of contents of the several volumes. 
The proportions in which each contributed to a 
work extending to two thousand five hundred 
pages will thus be seen. Listead of dwelling upon 
the individual merits of the contributors, I shall 
here very briefly attempt to notice some of the 
aspects of the London of Queen Victoria, chiefly as 

Digitized by 


compared with its characteristics during centuries of 

I believe I may claun to have given a title to the 
Thames which is now familiarly used, " The Silent 
Highway." I begin the first number with one of 
the most remarkable pictures of ancient manners 
which has been transmitted to us — Gower's descrip- 
tion of Richard the Second being rowed in his 
stately barge, and calling to the poet, in his little 
boat, to come on board amongst the great lords and 
ladies of his suite. It was four hundred and fifty 
years ago when the minstrel and the monarch were 

In Thames when it was flowing.*' 

With the exception of some of the oldest portions of 
the Tower of London, there is scarcely a brick or a 
stone that can present a memorial of the City which 
Gower calls New Troy. We have to pass through 
the long reign of the watermen from the time of 
John Norman, the first Mayor of London, who was 
rowed to Westminster instead of riding, to the days 
when even the watermen had become a portion of 
the antiquities of London — ^the days of the Penny 
Steamboat. Equally remarkable are the contrasts 
between the circumstances of the times when London 
was without coaches — ^when no sound of wheels was 
heard but that of the cart labouring through the 
rutty ways — and those of the period when the 
hackney-coach, having flourished for two hundred 
years, was at last annihilated by the omnibus and 
the cab. But a revolution was impending, twenty 
years ago, whose issue no one can entirely foresee. 
In 1844 there were ten railway termini in London, 

Digitized by 



Their contemplated union by new lines may again 
change the whole system of internal communication, 
if the lords of the iron-way, who ruthlessly pierce 
our ant-hill, should leave the ants any ground in 
which they may burrow in peace. 

We walk through the great thoroughfares. Where 
are the open shops in which, up to the time of Queen 
Anne, the vendible articles were exposed to the street 
without any barrier of glass ? Very slow were the 
steps by which the windows of small squares were 
superseded by the magnificent sheets of plate-glass, 
which, in honour of the man who abolished the glass 
duties, might be called PeeFs memorial. Commer- 
cial architecture, too, has wholly changed. The 
palatial buildings of London are now the city ware- 
houses. The famous city houses of the old nobility 
and the merchant princes have been long since 
annihilated, with the exception of a few relics 
preserved for show. Not many of them remained 
at the beginning of the eighteenth century. If 
domestic Architecture flourished little amongst us 
until the days of club magnificence, neither has 
Sculpture done much for the adornment of the 
streets of London. There is some fatality about this 
matter. We cannot finish the Nelson Testimonial, 
which was nearly completed in 1844. We cannot 
add to the public statues of London — ^which consist 
of thirteen kings and queens, four warriors, and three 
or four statesmen — a single monument of those, who, 
dwelling within the metropolitan limits, have made 
our language immortal and imiversal — ^not one of her 
men of science, not one of her great artists, not a 
Newton, not a Reynolds. 

The new public buildings that have sprung up 

Digitized by 



since the reign of George the Fourth were created 
rather by some imperative necessity than by a syste- 
matic design to make them worthy of the ancient 
seat of royalty and legislation, the great market of 
the world, and the centre of arts and learning. Thus, 
if the old Houses of Parliament had not been burnt 
down in 1834, we should have had no structure such 
as that produced by Mr. Barry, which, with some 
faults, may preserve the name of the architect for 
posterity, as the man who erected one grand monu- 
ment in a somewhat tasteless age, even as Wren 
built St. Paul's in an age little famous for the 
cultivation of high art. In 1844, the buildings were 
far short of completion, but enough was done to show 
the general character of the edifice, and how worthily 
it would some day leave not a wreck behind of the 
miserable fa5ade by which Soane deformed West- 
minster Hall. The present Post OflSce, completed 
by Smirke in 1830, was an absolute necessity for 
meeting that vast increase of business which could 
scarcely be carried on in the old buildings of Lombard 
Street. Large and convenient as it is, one of the 
departments — ^that of the Money Order — which has 
grown out of Penny Postage, is carried on in a 
separate building. In 1845, the old Montague 
House, which from 1753 had been our British 
Museum, was finally destroyed. The nation had 
desired that something larger and nobler should be 
erected than the building which, for half a century, 
had held little more than Sir Hans Sloane's collec- 
tion, and the Cotton and Harleian MSS. — an edifice 
worthy to receive the Elgin Marbles, the Townley 
Gallery, and the King's Library. Our National 
Museum was commenced from the designs of Smiike, 

Digitized by 

Ch. XIII.] 


267 ^ 

in 1823, His portico was finished in 1845. Great 
have been the additions and changes during anpther 
twenty years. Priceless treasures are still crying for 
houseroom. What has been done is but an earnest 
of what remains to do, for there can be no limit as 
long as England wills that she shall not be behind 
other nations in securing the best trophies of 

The restoration of a few of the old ecclesiastical 
buildings of London had indicated, in 1844, the 
growth of a reverence for our beautiful' monuments 
of ancient piety. It is a feature, not only of an im- 
proved^ taste but of a higher spirit, that in this 
particular, and in the general respect for antiquity, 
we had thrown oflf the shackles that bound down the 
previous generation to erect structures of mere utility 
and to neglect most of the beautiful things that time 
had spared. The restoration of St. Mary Overies was 
completed about 1840, but it was with great diffi- 
culty that the exquisite Lady Chapel could be pre- 
served, for the despotism of London traffic insolently 
demanded its removal. The genius of barbarism, in 
this case, was not triumphant. The restoration of 
the Temple Church was accomplished without any 
such differences. The work was altogether in the 
hands of educated men. But the revival of a taste 
for Gothic architecture had, in some respects, a fatal 
influence upon the character of the new churches of 
London, as upon those that were springing up in 
every diocese. They were something better than the 
bald specimens of Georgian ai-chitecture, but they 
were to a great extent servile imitations of buildings 
characteristic of another form of worship. Happily 
the mistakes were gradually corrected, and it began 

Digitized by 


to be perceived that a modem Gothic church 
might have some originality of adaptation, although 
parts had been derived from ancient examples. 

The Old Spring-time in London, with its May- 
poles and its Arthur's Show, its playing at bucklers 
and its maids dancing for garlands, had given place 
to the chimney-sweepers ; and they were fast fading 
into obscurity when the Legislature substituted long 
brooms for climbing boys. A quarter of a century 
ago we were complaining that the healthful enjoy- 
ments of the great body of the people were not 
sufficiently cared for in our Parks and pubHc walks. 
Happily the age of exclusiveness is passed. We form 
new Parks on the East and on the South of London, 
amidst crowded populations, who, most of all, want 
fresh air. The old aristocratic haunts are become places 
of recreation for the commonalty, where they linger 
under the branching elms, or wander through trimly 
kept paths, bordered with evergreens and summer 
flowers. There can be no better proof that the 
people are cared for, than in the revival of fountains 
in the crowded thoroughfares. The conduits of the 
Tudor days are gone. The toiling housewife no 
longer fills her pitcher at the lion's mouth of the 
sculptured column. The water-caiiiers are extinct. 
But private benevolence has furnished the great city 
with the means of oflfering a cup of water to the 
thirsty pedestrian ; and Sow acceptable is the gift 
may be seen every minute. 

What stranger in the metropolis, taking up his 
lodging in or near the great thoroughfares, would 
now expect to hear any of those famous London 
Cries of which his father or his grandfather used so 
eloquently to discourse. All the poetical cries are 

Digitized by 

Ch. XIII.] 



gone, with the exception of "Strawberries, ripe,'* 
which has survived since the days of Henry V. 
" Cherry ripe " was married two centuries ago to 
poetry, which became popular when it had gushed 
from the lips of Madame Vestris. The costermonger 
has monopolised all the old cries of radishes, onions, 
and cucumbers, but» his loud voice is heard most in 
the suburbs. There the musical cries still linger. 
Cats'-meat is proclaimed in one district by a fine 
tenor voice, in remarkable contrast to the bawling of 
the costermonger. The tinkle of the muffin-man 
remains ; but we can well spare the clang of the 
dustman's bell. The itinerant traders necessarily 
become scarcer amidst the growth of shops in every 
new district. So it is with the old street sights. 
Punch survives. The acrobat occasionally spreads 
his carpet in a auX-de-aac, but the raree-showman is 
no more. Italian boys have their white mice and 
their monkeys, but the dancing bear belongs to the 
dim antiquity of the age of George III. The mounte- 
banks long survived the public-spirited artist of 
Hammersmith, described by the " Spectator " with a 
keen relish of the impudent fellow's wit. No Merry 
Andrew now vends his nostrums in the streets. We 
must now take the physic without the jest. Adver- 
tisements have superseded the harangues of the 
quack doctor, and thus Morrison's Pills and Old Parr's 
Life Pills are not defrauded of their fair fame by 
the want of trumpeters. 

A witty friend eulogising porter exclaimed, 
" Always drink it out of pewter ; never drink it 
out of the Bills of Mortality." The commentator 
must explain what is meant by the Bills of Mortality. 
They were the weekly Death Registers of a time 

Digitized by 



when the Londoners were exceedingly sensitive about 
any increase in the average number of deaths, for 
such increase was considered as a sign that the 
plague was in the crowded city, and those who could 
afford it fled terror-stricken. These bills were com- 
menced in 1592, and went regularly on until 184j2. 
The districts in which the parish clerks, with a band of 
matrons called searchers, performed the functions of 
registration were "within the Bills of Mortality." 
The "true bills" of the parish clerks were necessarily 
imperfect, and wholly unscientific. In January, 
1840, the reports under the Registration Act were 
commenced, and we are now fully able to appreciate 
the great impulse to sanitary reforms, which has been 
given by such enlightened chronicles as those which 
issue from the oflSice of the Eegistrar-General. The 
old reports of the Bills of Mortality were connected 
with the system of London burials. The horrible 
abuse of pestilent graveyards in the heart of the 
densest population has come to an end. Ever 
honoured be that Committee of the House of Com- 
mons, which, in their report of 1842, described the 
state of things which the Londoners had long 
endured as " an instance of the most wealthy, morale 
and civilised community of the world, tolerating a 
practice and an abuse which has been corrected for 
years by nearly all other civilised nations in every 
part of the globe." The year 1844 saw the beginning 
of a reformation in London, which, in twenty years, 
has been fully accomplished. The example has 
gradually spread over the whole country. Churches 
and churchyards have ceased to offend our senses and 
endanger our lives. " The house appointed for all 
living " has become a place of decency and sometimes 

Digitized by 

Ck XIII.] 



of beauty, in accordance with the true spirit of 
religion, which sees nothing odious in death. 

Cobbett called the great city the Wen, and he 
denounced with his utmost vigour the all-devouring 
maw which swallowed up the com and cattle raised by 
the labour of the country. He knew perfectly well — 
especially when upon his farm of Botley he raised 
precocious lambs for the London market — that the 
wonderful adjustment of the demand and supply was 
the best proof of the healthy condition of the system 
of exchange under which town and country were 
equally thriving. Since Cobbett wrote, what changes 
have- been wrought in the supply of food for London ! 
The Com Exchange, rebuilt in 1827, is now but an 
imperfect type of the enormous transactions which 
mark the era of Free Trade as compared with that 
of Protection. During this epoch, when the lean 
beasts of the Continent had come to be fattened in 
our rich pastures, and the farmers of England have 
leamt that their profits did not wholly depend upon 
the high price of wheat, the old Smithfield has 
vanished. Corporate prescription long clung to its 
abominationa They are gone. A far more conve- 
nient cattle-mai-ket in the northem suburb has freed 
our streets from the terrors of over-driven oxen ; and 
the time is fast approaching when beastly slaughter- 
houses beneath the shadow of St. Paul's will give 
place to cleanly abattoirs outside the town. Billings- 
gate is a changed place. Amongst the blessings 
bestowed on commimities by steam navigation and 
railways, the rapid supply and the consequent cheap- 
ness of fish is not the least important It is the 
same with the wonderful supply of fruit and vege- 
tables to Covent Garden. But the material changes 

Digitized by 



in this famous market are equally remarkable. About 
1830, Mr. Walker, a metropolitan magistrate, wrote : 
" What must necessarily be the moral state of the 
numerous class constantly exposed to the changes of 
the weather, amidst the mud and putridities of 
Covent Garden ? What ought it to be, where the 
occupation is amongst vegetables, fruits, and flowers, 
if there were well-regulated accommodations ? " The 
evil was not long without a remedy. The present 
market is ample and convenient for all wholesale 
transactions. The centre arcade, in the spring and 
summer season, presents a sight imsurpassed by any 
capital in Europe, testifying to the perfection which 
the gardens and hot-houses of England have attained 
since Maitland, one of the dullest of London topo- 
graphers, in describing Covent Garden as a magni- 
ficent square, says, " wherein, to its great disgrace, is 
kept a herb and fruit market." But if the London 
food-markets have changed, greater is the change in 
the public places where food is consumed. The old 
coflfee-houses of the days of Addison are no longer 
frequented by beaux and wits. They are either 
extinct, or have become common eating-houses. ' But 
something much better for human happiness than 
"White's" and "The Grecian" have sprung up in 
London within the last quarter of a century. It was 
given in evidence before a Committee of the House 
of Commons in 1840, that there were eighteen hun- 
dred coflfee-shops in London where the artizan might 
take his breakfast with comfort and even with luxury. 
John Wilson Croker, about this time, was correcting 
a proof at a printing-office on the Surrey side, when 
he found that he wanted his breakfast. There was 
no tavern or hotel near, so he boldly said he would 

Digitized by 

Ch. XIII.] 



try one of the new coflFee-shops. He came back mar- 
vellously impressed with a fresh aspect of society. 
He had breakfasted, for fonrpence, as well as ever in 
his life ; everything was clean ; the behaviour of the 
company was of the best; and he had read the 
" Times " of that morning, and had seen the last 
Quarterly well thumbed. Mr. Humphries, a coffee- 
shop keeper, told the Committee of the House of 
Commons that since he had been in business a mani- 
fest improvement had taken place in the taste for 
literature amongst the classes who frequented his 
house. But at this period there was a marked defi- 
ciency in the London arrangements for public refresh- 
ment. There was no place, for example, where a lady, 
fatigued perhaps by a railway journey, could obtain a 
luncheon better than the bun and the indigestible 
meat-pie of the pastrycook. She could not obtain a 
glass of wine unless she chose to pay for a private 
room at a tavern, and be charged an extortionate 
price for a biscuit and a glass of sherry. The magic 
wand of the Chancellor of the Exchequer has changed 
aU this. There is scarcely a pastrycook's where a 
chop cannot be procured, and, most wonderful, the 
monopoly of the inn-keeper has been destroyed, and 
wine for the sustentation of nature may be sold in 
the smallest quantity without incurring the old penal- 
ties of the excise. 

Some of the social changes of London are indicated 
by the altered character of its amusements. Eanelagh 
disappeared in 1805. Vauxhall was still brilliant with 
its variegated lamps and its fii-eworks not ten years 
ago. But the glories of the place now abide only in 
the pages of Addison, and Goldsmith, and Walpole. 
The Mahomedan Paradise — where Sir Roger de 


Digitized by 



Coverley heard the chorus of birds that sung upon 
the trees, and looked upon the loose tribe of people 
who walked under their shade — ^had become more 
genteel when Lady Caroline Petersham debarked at 
Yauxhall, picked up Lord Granby very drunk, and 
seven chickens were minced into a china dish, which 
the lady stewed over a lamp. The arcades of Vaux- 
hall have perished. The concert is no longer per- 
formed under the auspices of the statue of HandeL 
The glee-singers now render Canterbury Hall, and 
fifty other metropolitan saloons, somewhat refined 
amidst tobacco-smoke and brandy-and-water. These, 
too, will give place to some new form of social life, as 
Cremome has driven out Vauxhall. But the memo- 
ries even of these fleeting things will survive, for there 
was never an age of London in which the shifting 
aspects of its many-coloured life have not been re- 
flected by its poets and its essayists. London has 
sent forth its literature through four centuries to the 
uttermost ends of the earth, and is full, therefore, not 
only of material monuments of the past, but of the 
more abiding memorials which exist in imperishable 
books. Thus the Tabard Inn, at Southwark, had in 
the reign of Victoria become a waggoners' yard, with 
its accompanying liquor-shop and tap-room. But 
Chaucer's immortal picture of " that hostelrie " and 
its guests remained to us. East Cheap had lost all 
its ancient characteristics in the improvements of 
London Bridge, but Lydgate showed us .that, long 
before the days of Shakspere, 

" There was harp, pipe, and minstrelsy." 

Finsbury and Islington were covered with intermin- 
able rows of houses, but Ben Jonson called to mind 

Digitized by 

Ch. XIII.] 



* the archers of Finsbury, or the citizens that come 
a-ducking to Islington ponds." The Devil Tavern, 
with its Apollo Club, had perished, but Jonson's 
verses over the door of the Apollo Room still gave it 
life. The River Fleet no longer ran across Holbom, 
but Pope recalled that polluted stream — 

Since Pope wrote of this ditch, the sluices of mud 
have made the silver flood a leaden one. The glories 
of "White's," and " WiUV' and " The Grecian," and 
"The St. James s,'* had passed away, in the fall of 
Coffee-houses and the rise of Clubs, but we yet live 
in the social life of the days of Anne, and people the 
solitary Coffee-houses with imaginary Swifts and 
Addisons and Steeles, even as Thackeray has called 
them again from the neglected " Tatlers " and 
" Spectators." The literary memorials of London are 
amongst her best antiquities. 

The materials for judging of the social aspects of 
the metropolis a quarter of a century ago, are chiefly 
to be found in the Periodical Literature of that time ; 
as the social aspects of the century previous are to 
be traced in the magazines and reviews which had 
started into existence in the time of George II. 
Even the " Penny Magazine," although rarely dealing 
with matters of temporary interest that belonged 
rather to newspapers, occasionally touched upon pass- 
ing manners. The nimiber of December 30th, 1837, 
is occupied by an article entitled " London Extremes 
— ^Hyde Park and Rag Fair." To see Hyde Park in 
its full glory, according to this writer, he would 
select a fine dry Sunday of the spring time. The 

'* Than whom no sluice of mud 
With deeper sable blots the silver flood. 

T 2 



eye-witness arrives at Hyde Park about four o'clock ; 
the throng of carriages and horses seems to increase 
every minute, and becomes extreme about five 
o'clock. " Dukes, merchants, barristers, and bankers 
are all intermingled ; parliament men on horseback 
—for Simday is a dies Twn in the senate — ^bow to 
ladies whose figures and complexion make French- 
men and Prussians talk with rapture of the beauties 
of England; tall footmen, shining in scarlet and 
lace, exchange knowing looks with smart diminutive 
tigers, in frock coats and top-boots, who ding 
behind bachelor-looking cabriolets. By-and-by an 
occasional carriage may be seen to break out of the 
circle, and disappeai* by one of the gates — ^for the 
hour of dinner draws nigh. At six o'clock there is 
a visible declension in the numbers ; and after that 
time the bustle dies rapidly away." When another 
generation shall be turning over the countless heaps 
of newspapers and other weekly sheets to see what 
Hyde Park was in the spring of 1864, they will find 
that the fashionable carriages and elegant eques- 
trians, male and female, have vanished from this 
resort on a Sunday in the season, as completely as 
the May-day observances, which Pepys thus pre- 
serves from oblivion in his diary of the 30th of April, 
1661 : — " I am sorry I am not at London to be at 
Hyde Park to-morrow morning among the great 
gallants and ladies, which will be very fine." 

Hyde Park on a Sunday is now wholly given up 
to vulgar pedestrians — ^fashion shuns it It is not 
genteel " to take the air on a Sunday." Fascinating 
apprentices ogle smart shop-girls. Change here rules 
supreme. Spread over the green sward a year or 
two ago were knots of people gathered round field- 

Ch. XIII.] 



preachers. As the evening closed in, the motley 
throng gradually cleared away. The sensible artisan 
and his wearied spouse wend their way back to their 
dwelling "in city close ypent," and the well-got-up 
shopman, who has been airing his hack in Rotten 
Eow, takes the poor jade home to the stable-keeper. 

" It is a long walk from Hyde Park to Rag Fair," 
says the " Penny Magazine " essajdst Such a place 
as Rag Fair, at the extreme east of London, is 
one of its antiquities. It certainly belongs to 
another condition of society. " Its glory," continues 
the " Penny Magazine," " like that of many other 
things of the olden time, waxes dim. It was other- 
wise when gentlemen wore huge wigs, gold and 
silver-laced suits, blue or scarlet silk stockings with 
gold or silver clocks ; lace neckcloths ; square-toed 
short-quartered shoes with high red heels and small 
buckles; very long and formally-curled perukes, 
black riding-wigs, and nightcap-wigs ; small three* 
cornered hats, laced with gold or silver galloon, and 
sometimes trimmed with feathers ; and, to crown all, 
the never-failing sword dangling at the heels." It 
was once the rival of Monmouth Street, whose fame 
survives in play and poem. To both of these marts 
many a faded dandy of his day, whose credit with 
the tailor was broken up, and many a poor coxcomb 
of pretension, trying to ape his superiors in externals, 
were fain to sneaL They were once a refuge for the 
broken-down, but not for the destituta Even at a 
jnore recent period, when cloth became the general 
material for the coat, and velvet, silk, satin and 
embroidery, were reserved for court dresses, or waist- 
coats and breeches only, the deamess of cloth made 
these places a very great convenience to people of 


limited meang. But, now, thanks to machinery, and 
to that taste which has produced such a simplicity in 
male attire, nobody but the very poorest need resort 
to Bag Fair. 

In 1844, the seed that had been broadcast over 
the land had produced a supply of Periodical litera- 
ture, far too great for such careful thrashing and 
winnowing as may be advantageously bestowed upon 
the early essayists and magazine writers, in any at- 
tempt to trace the characteristics of the age. The 
vast jncrease of this species of publication may be 
attributed in some degree to the excitement, whether 
for purposes of business or pleasure, that had grown 
out of rapid travelling, cheap postal communication, 
and many other circumstances that cause the journey 
of life to be performed at a quicker pace. Fragmen- 
tary reading was an inevitable result of the new 
condition of society. I thought it a vast increase of 
this species of literature, as compaied with the era of 
high-priced books, when I published the following 
statements : — On Saturday, May the 4th, 1844, the 
number of weekly periodical works issued in London 
was about sixty. The monthly issue of periodical 
literature was unequalled by any similar commercial 
operation in Europe, there being two hundred and 
twenty-seven monthly works sent out on the last day 
of May, 1844, from Paternoster Row, in addition to 
thirty-eight works published quarterly. To complete 
this account of the commerce of the periodical press, 
I added the number of newspapers published in the 
United Kingdom, which amounted to four hundred 
and forty-seven. Of these seventy-nine were London 
newspapers In the days of the newspaper stamp^ 

♦ ** "William Caxton; a Biography.** Postscript. 

Ch. XIII.] 



the number printed could be given with tbe utmost 
accuracy from the official returns. How vast has 
been the increase since the total change in our fiscal 
laws with regard to the press, was recently exhibited 
in some very curious estimates submitted to the 
House of Commons by Mr. Edward Baines. It is 
scarcely necessary to say that such estimates can only 
approximate to the truth, but they are valuable bb 
far as they go ; and I may hope in my subsequent 
volume to verify them by such inquiries as I have 
instituted at former periods of my working life as a 

Digitized by 



]HEN^ in the autumn of 1811, 1 was passing 
a happy month of business and pleasure at 
Cliefden, I had strolled into the woods one 
sunny afternoon with a little book in my 
pocket) that I had been recommended by my noble 
hostess to read. I sat down in a shady nook by the 
side of the crystal spring, which flowed into the 
Thames with a soft murmuring voice. The thin ' 
volume which I made an effort to read, lulled as I 
was into drowsiness by the exquisite repose of the 
scene around me, was "Remarks on some of the 
Characters of Shakespere,'' by Thomas Whately. 
It was written by the father of a cleigyman who 
visited at Lady Orkney's — the Rev. Thomas Whately. 
He was vicar of Cookham, the village on the Berk- 
shire bank of the river, which he subsequently made 
famous by his sagacious and successful attempts to 
uproot pauperism in the ruraT parish under his 
charge. The late Archbishop of Dublin was another 
son of the same Shaksperian critic. I think I may 
venture to say, that this eminent man had not fiilly 
imbibed the spirit of his fathei^s book, when, in a 
preface to a new edition, he wrote : " I doubt whether 
Shakspere ever had any thought at all of making 
his personages speak characteristically.*' The Arch- 
bishop believed that Shakspere " drew characters 
correctly, because he could not avoid it'* It is 

Digitized by 




beside my present purpose to controvert this opinion. 
My object is to show that through this volume some- 
thing like a critical understanding of Shakspere first 
dawned upon me. 

Mr. Whately's book is a parallel between the 
characters of Richard the Third and Macbeth. It is 
a fragment of a more extensive design. How quali- 
fied the writer was to execute such a project with 
judgment and taste, may be seen from his opening 
paragraph : " Every play of Shakspere abounds 
with instances of his excellence in distinguishing 
characters. It would be difficult to determine which 
is the most striking of all that he drew ; but his 
merit will appear most conspicuously by comparing 
two opposite characters, who happen to be placed in 
similar circumstances — ^not that on such occasions 
he marks them more strongly than on others, but 
because the contrast makes the distinction more 
apparent ; and of these, none seem to agree so much 
in situation, and to differ so much in disposition, as 
Bichard the Third and Macbeth. Both are soldiers, 
both usurpers ; both attain the throne by the same 
means, by treason and murder ; and both lose it, too, 
in the same manner, in battle against the person 
.claiming it as lawful heir. Perfidy, violence, and 
tyranny, are common to both ; and those only, their 
obvious qualities, would have been attributed in- 
discriminately to both by an ordinary dramatic 
writer. But Shakspere, in conformity to the truth 
of history, as far as it led him, and by improving 
upon the fables which have been blended with it, 
has ascribed opposite principles and motives to the 
^me designs and actions, and various effects to the 
operation of the same events upon different tempers. 

Digitized by 


Bichaxd and Macbeth as represented by him, agree 
in nothing but their fortunes." 

I may probably date from this period that I did 
not wholly surrender my judgment to the decisions 
of Dr. Johnson upon the merits of each play, as I 
had read them in some one of the earlier variorum 
editions. When he said of "Macbeth : " *^ It has no 
nice discriminations of character," I thought him 
somewhat hazy. When he wrote of " A Midsummer 
Night's Dream : " " Wild and fantastical as this play 
is, all the parts in their various modes are well writ- 
ten," I deemed this faint praise more offensive than 
the dictum of Mr. Samuel Pepys, who pronounced it 
the most insipid, ridiculous play that he had ever 
seen in his life. Surely the great moralist had no 
conception of the deep meaning of almost every word 
which Hamlet utters, when he says that his " pre- 
tended madness causes much mirth." If our current 
school of criticism afforded very little stimulus to my 
love of Shakspere, I certainly was not encouraged by 
the opinion of the only English historian with whom 
I was familiar. " Bom," says David Hume, " in a 
rude age, and educated in the lowest manner, with* 
out any instruction either from the world or from 
books, a reasonable propriety of thought he cannot, 
for any time, uphold." I had met with a little 
volume of the Sonnet& How well do I remember 
portions of those mysterious, and therefore more 
bewitching productions, in association with solitary 
walks in my native forest That little volume was 
a treasure to me, for I could not find the sonnets 
in the editions of the plays that were amongst my 
father's collection of books. Steevens had said: 
" We have not reprinted the Sonnets, &c., of Shak- 

Cli. XIV.] 



gpeare^ because the strongest Act of Parliament that 
could be framed would fail to compel readers into 
their service." Bewildered as I thus was up to the 
time when I had reached man's estate, by the de- 
preciating criticism of the poet whom I had ap- 
proached with an uncritical feeling of love and 
reverence, it was a consolation to me at length to 
find that there was a higher school than that of the 
pedants, who maintained that Shakspere was with- 
out art and without learning. In 1815 was pub- 
lished Mr. Black's translation of SchlegeFs " Lectures 
on Dramatic literature." The study of these very 
quickly led me away from the blind guides that I 
might otherwise have followed. The causes which 
had more or less influenced the previous race of 
English critics, were sagaciously pointed out by this 
sensible foreigner. It was, generally speaking, the 
prevailing tendency of the time which preceded our 
own, a tendency displayed also in physical sciences, 
to consider what is possessed of Ufe as a mere accu- 
mulation of dead parts ; to separate what exists only 
in connection and cannot otherwise be conceived, 
instead of penetrating to the central point, and 
viewing all the parts as so many irradiations from 
it Hence, nothing is so rare as a critic who cm 
elevate himself to the contemplation of an ex- 
tensive work of art. Shakspere's compositions, from 
the very depth of purpose displayed in them, have 
been exposed to the misfortune of being misunder- 

In 1837 I began to look about me for artistic 
materials adapted to a Pictorial Edition of Shakspere. 
At first view, the existing stores of illustrations 
seemed almost boundless. There were embellish- 


ments to various editions from the time of Rowe, 
chiefly of a theatrical character, and, for the most 
part, thoroughly unnatural The grand historical 
pictures of the Shakspere Gallery were not in a very 
much higher taste, furnishing a remarkable example 
how painters of the highest rank in their day had 
contrived to make the characters of Shakspere little 
more than vehicles for the display of false costume. 
There were a few valuable antiquarian illustrations, 
such as those given by Mr. Douce. Altogether, it 
became necessary for me to look carefully at the 
plays, to see whether the aid of art might not be 
called in to add both to the information and enjoy- 
ment of the reader of Shakspere, by representing 
the Bealities upon which the imagination of the 
poet must have rested. There were the localities of 
the various scenes, whether English or foreign; the 
portraits of the real personages of the historical 
plays ; the objects of natural history, so constantly 
occurring; accurate costume in all its rich variety^ 
Wbilst engaged in my search after such pictorial 
illustrations, a gentleman, who has since distin* 
guished himself by his antiquarian knowledge, lent 
me his note-book, in which he had jotted do¥ni a 
somewhat large list of archaeological subjects. This 
kindness of Mr. William Fairholt was of essential use 
to me. I very early put myself in communication 
with Mr. Poynter, who made for me a series of the 
most beautiful architectural drawings, which imparted 
a character of truthfulness to many scenes, which 
upon the stage had in general been merely fanciful 
creations of the painter. Mr. Harvey undertook to 
produce a series of frontispieces, which, embodying 
the realities of costume and other accessaries, would 

Ch. XIV.] 



have enough of an imaginative character to render 

The foundations of my edition as an illustrated 
work of art being thus laid, I diligently applied 
myself to a critical examination of the text to be 
adopted. I procured a copy of the first folio, which 
was read aloud to me whilst I marked upon a copy 
of the common trade edition, all the variations that 
presented themselves. I found that no book could 
be more incorrectly printed than this booksellers' 
stereotyped volume. I subsequently expressed my 
belief that the text of Shakspere had not been com- 
pared with the originals carefully and systematically 
for half a century. Not only had words been changed 
by printers, but whole lines had been omitted. The 
punctuation of the received text was in the most 
confused state. Thus far, my way was clear to 
produce a pictorial edition with a more correct text, 
even if I absolutely relied upon the authority of the 
first folio compared with the quartos. Of these 
scarce morsels I could avail myself in Steevens' very 
«X5Curate reprint This accuracy I had tested by 
•having the several plays which he thus reproduced, 
collated with originals in the British Museum. But 
then, a new diflSculty arose. The conjectural emen- 
dations of the variorum editors were so numerous, 
that it was necessary that I should make up my 
mind as to their adoption or rejection. I had to 
decide upon many disputed readings ; and for this it 
was essential to consult the great mass of separate 
commentary that had been published by the learned, 
the dull, and the conceited, during the century in 
which the critical study of Shakspere's text had 
been pursued by many competent and incompetent 

them pleasing. 



writerg. There was one man of my acquaintance, 
for whom I had a high regard — ^Mr. Thomas Rodd, 
the well-known bookseller of Great Newport Street 
— ^whose knowledge of the works which he sold went 
far beyond their title-pages. He enabled me to form 
a considerable collection of commentaries on Shak- 
spere, ranging from Rymer and Dennis to Hazlitt 
and Coleridge. As I advanced in my Shaksperian 
studies, I found that my labours would not cease with 
the acquirement of a more intimate knowledge of all 
that had been written about the text, but that I must 
carefully examine the various opinions as to the 
order in which the plays of Shakspere were produced, 
unless I were implicitly to adopt the theories advo- 
cated in Malone's " Essay" on that very difl&cult sub- 
ject. I was satisfied that much depended in coming 
to something like accurate conclusions as to the 
plays which belonged respectively to the poet's earlier 
period, his middle period, and his later period. The 
historical plays would necessarily follow in the order 
of the events of which they were the subject. But 
for the comedies and tragedies, I determined to print 
them in the order which I believed to be at least an 
approximation to the period of their composition* 

After a year of preparation I issued my pro- 
spectus, in which I boldly declared that Shakspere 
demanded a rational edition of his performances, 
that should address itself to the popular understand- 
ing in a spirit of love, and not of captious and pre- 
sumptuous cavilling. In the first number of my 
edition, containing the " Two Grentlemen of Verona^*' 
I made a distinct profession of faith in Shakspere, 
vnih a perfect knowledge that I should be assailed 
on many sides, but that I should call up hosts of 

cilxiv.] the second epoch. 


friends ready to shake oflf their allegiance to " the 
dwarfish commentators who are for ever cutting him 
down to their own QUfi" I thus wrote in my intro- 
ductory notice to this play : " We believe the time is 
past when it can afford any satisfaction to an English- 
man to hear the greatest of our poets perpetually 
held up to ridicule as a sort of inspired barbarian, 
who worked without method, and wholly without 
learning. But before Shakspere can be properly 
understood, the popular mind must be led in an 
opposite direction ; and we must learn to regard him, 
as he really was, as the most consimimate of artists, 
who had a complete and absolute control over all the 
materials and instruments of his art, without any 
subordination to mere impulses and caprices, — ^with 
entire self-possession and perfect knowledge." 

It was natural for many who had been bred in a 
reverence for the old school of criticism to consider 
me presumptuous in declaring my scepticism as to 
the authority of Steevens and of Malone. Probably, 
my new-bom enthusiasm carried me somewhat too 
feur. I accepted as a seasonable admonition a friendly 
letter from Mr. Kodd : " Notwithstanding all their 
squabbles among themselves and abuse of each other, 
the dulness of some and wildness of others, I con- 
sider them as a whole as a body of men who have 
rendered singular service to English literature. In 
their readings for illustration of his text, they have 
thrown great light upon our national history, anti- 
quities and language, and been the means of calling 
into notice several good authors who had fallen into 
immerited obscurity. Let me beg of you to tread 
more lightly over their -ashes in future." But I was 
not likely, although I might modify my future ex- 

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pressions, to be diverted from my convictions that I 
had chosen the right path^ however perplexed it 
might be. I had abundant encouragement in my 
course. Henry Nelson Coleridge wrote to me upon 
the appearance of my opening nxunber: "It is at 
once a beautiful and instructive edition ; indeed, the 
first in the country conceived in a right spirit." 
Mrs. Jameson, in a most welcome letter, expressed 
her entire sympathy with my opinions : " I thought 
I had well studied Shakspere myself, but your 
' edition has opened fresh sources of reflection and 

information." My old friend, Sir Henry Ellis, prof- 
fered his assistance, and sent me a genuine slice of 
the mulberry-tree which he received fi'om the Rev. 
Mr. Becket, and saw it cut from the block upon 
which Qarrick had himself placed his seal. From 
Leigh Hunt I received a letter, from which I give 
an extract, very characteristic of the writer : " It 
rejoices me to see you in a task like this, because it 
enables you to live in a world which belongs to you 
besides the world of business, and which will do you 
as much good as I believe it wiU give pleasure and 
profit to the reader. To live with Shakspere, is to 
breathe at once the sweetest and most universal air 
of humanity." I could multiply these testimonies of 
kindness, were it not distasteful to me to appear 
like my own eulogist. 

Oflfers of literary assistance in my undertaking 
reached me from various quarters. I had originally 
hoped for much direct aid, and had thought that my 
task would be lightened by having several persons 
engaged upon vaiious departments. I found this 
idea, with two exceptions — ^music and costume — im- 
possible of execution, even if I had not become 

Digitized by 

Ch. XIV.] 



enamoured of my work, and had derived from it a 
solace amidst many cares. The labour had not 
wearied me when I had completed three-fourths of 
my undertaking. In a postscript to my sixth volume, 
I thus expressed my feelings : " It is now somewhat 
more than three years since I commenced the pub- 
lication of ' The Pictorial Edition of Shakspere/ in 
Monthly Parts ; and during that period I have pro- 
duced a Part on the first day'of each month, with one 
single exception. The task of editing thig work has 
been to me a most agreeable one. It has been ab- 
sorbing enough to require my daily attention, — ^to 
occupy my habitual thoughts, — to shut out dark 
forebodings, — ^to lighten the pressure of instant evils. 
It has furnished me a useful and honourable occupa- 
tion, which has not been less zealously pursued be- 
cause it was associated with the discharge of duties 
not so pleasurable. I have worked at this task with 
a full consciousness of the responsibility which lay 
upon me ; but as I have worked in the spirit of love, 
that consciousness has never been painful" 

The Two Gentlemen of Verona was printed for the 
first time in the folio of 1623. That volume also 
contained eight other comedies, three histories, and 
six tragedies, of which no previous edition is known. 
In addition to these eighteen plays, four other 
comedies were there first printed in a perfect shape. 
I had, therefore, ample reason for considering that 
first folio as standing with regard to half of Shak- 
spere's plays in the same relation to the text as the 
one manuscript of an ancient author. It was the 
only accredited complete copy of four more of his 
choicest works. I, therefore, from the first, held that 
for three-fifths of Shakspere's plays that folio waa 


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the only authority, however the quartos might be 
advantageously compared with its text with regard 
to the other two-fifths. I did not place an exclusive 
reliance, as I have often been accused of doing, upon 
the text of that folio, but I did not rely by preference 
upon those rare quarto morsels which the editors of 
the first folio had described as stolen and surreptitious 
copies. Within a week after the appearance of my 
fitst number, I had a letter from Mr. John Wilson 
Croker, which went to confirm me in my views with 
regard to the text. He says, " Let me tell you that 
many years ago (near forty I fear) I wrote a great 
many pages to establish the principle that you have 
adopted — the paramount authority of the first folio ; 
and, as well as I can recollect, I went through the 
whole of Macbeth to prove my position. I know not 
whether my MS. is in existence, I rather fear not, as 
I have not seen it for near thirty years, but it may 
be in some boxes of old papers which are in a lumber 
room, and I will have it looked for. If I find it, and 
that it contains anjrthing worth copying, you shall 
have it. Perhaps, also, I may be able now and then 
to give you some hints which may be worth your 
consideration." My old friend, Dr. Maginn, in a 
letter of the 15th of November, showed that he held 
the first folio in the same reSpect as I did myself, 
but was inclined to treat that and all other authori- 
ties with a licence that appeared to me somewhat 
dangerous : " I have not any Shakespeare collections 
by me, though I once made a considerable number 
of notes with a view of giving an edition, not of the 
kind you are publishing, but merely critical with 
reference principally to the state of the text I con- 
sider with you the first folio to be in the nature of a 

Digitized by 

Ch. XIV.] 



MS., and therefore to be kept always primarily in 
view, not of course neglecting the second folio, and 
the quartos ; but haying been reared in a school of 
criticism in which even MSS. themselves are used, 
not worshipped, I have no objection to wielding the 
hook in a manner which you would perhaps consider 
as slashing as that of Bentley himself." 

Having thus taken up my position with regard to 
the text, I went on fearlessly and consistently. I 
preferred perhaps a little too exclusively the autho- 
rity of the folio. I often adopted the text of a reli- 
able quarto, always pointing out the discrepancies of 
the two editions. But I utterly rejected the principle 
of making a hash out of two texts, which had been 
the common practice of the variorum editors. To 
decide amidst various readings was really a much 
more difficult task a quarter of a century ago than it 
would be now, did the text remain precisely in the 
state in which it was when I began my labours. 
There did not then exist such a perfect, I might 
almost say such a wonderful help to memory as Mrs. 
Cowden Clarke's Concordance. Ayscough's Index 
was exceedingly imperfect and Ul-aiTanged. The 
"Verbal Index" of Twiss — ^two rare volumes, which 
cost me three or four guineas — ^was a book that was 
to me a perpetual source of perplexity, for the refer-^ 
ences of a single word to a hundred different places, 
without the slightest key to its use and significance, 
led me into a labyrinth whose darkness it was im- 
possible to penetrate. Honoured be the untiring 
industry and correct judgment of that lady, who 
came too late to assist me in my first edition, but 
who has ever since been my reliable aid whenever I 
was engaged in a critical study of Shakspere. 

r 2 

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My continuous work had sometimes relief when 
questions arose which were of a more novel and 
exciting character than textual commentary or even 
SBsthetical criticism. The Merry Wives of Windsor 
took me back into the old scenes of my childhood, 
which I retraced in companionship with one whose 
mind was as natural and genial as his landscapes are 
pure and truthfiiL Thomas Ci;eswick and his wife 
spent a few weeks with us in a cottage at Salt HilL 
A short walk took the painter with his sketch book, 
and the editor, with his unwritten knowledge of old- 
familiar haunts, into Windsor, and there we might 
trace the misfortunes of Falstaff, as he was carried 
" in the name of foul clothes to Datchet Lane," and 
thence " sUghted into the river where the shore was 
shelvy and narrow." "About the fields through 
Frogmore " suggested a stroll in another direction, to 
find a fit locality for the farm-house where Ann Page 
was " a feasting.'* The Windsor town of mediaeval 
architecture was to be imagined, but the position 
of its streets with reference to the Castle could be 
well defined. Mr. Creswick s charming designs made 
the Merry Wives of Windsor the gem of the come- 
dies in my edition. But as if Shakspere, the "gentle 
Shakspere," was to be always provocative of contro- 
versy, I became involved in the discussion of the 
very doubtful question whether Heme's Oak existed 
or had been cut down. The subject is stated so fully 
in my original edition, and, with some additional 
matter, in the revised issue of the Pictorial Shakspere 
now publishing, that it is scarcely necessaiy to add 
anjrthing to my details of the evidence regarding 
the controverted points between Mr. Jesse and the 
" Quarterly Keview," beyond printing here an extract 

Ch. XIV.] 



of a letter to me from Mr. Croker, of the 13th of 
January, 1842 : — 

" Your dissertation on Heme's Oak is conclusive 
against Mr. Jesse's fable, but there is one point of 
that fable, of the error of which you cannot be ap- 
prised. Mr. Jesse admits that George IV. frequently 
stated that ' George III. had cut down the tree sup- 
posed to be Heme's oak ; ' but that ' he always 
added that it was m>t so' Now I was the person to 
whom George IV. told the whole story, and I told it, 
many years ago, to Mr. Jesse, to whom it was then 
new, and I can assert that George IV. never added 
anything like what Mr. Jesse has stated, but quite 
the reverse. I know not from whom else Mr. Jesse 
might afterwards have heard the story, nor with 
what additions ; but his statement that George IV. 
always told the story with the addition in question, 
is assuredly not the fact, for he did not so tell it me, 
and Mr. Jesse first heard the story from me without 
any such addition. Mr. Jesse asked me to allow him 
to print my version of the story — ^not at that time 
stating that he had heard any other version — ^but 
this I refused, out of delicacy to George IV., who, I 
think, was still alive, and to the rest of the Royal 
family, for the fact is, that George IV. told me the 
story as a proof that his father's mental disorder had 
shown itself earlier than was generally known ; and 
all the circumstances of the anecdote — and they are 
very curious — ^tended to show that this cutting down 
of the tree was an act of temporary derangement. 
So much for my share in Mr. Jesse's story. In 1838 
George IV. and even William IV. were dead, and I 
thought I might, without impropriety, set the 
substance of the matter right in the ^Quarterly 


Review/ which I did in the passage you have 

During my editorial employment upon Twelfth 
Night, I was led into considerations with regard to 
Shakspere's domestic character by the perusal of Mr. 
De Quincey's life of Shakspere in a Part of the 
" EncyclopaBdia Britannica" which had just then 
appeared. My logical friend had taken up the no- 
tion that a passage in Twelfth Night was a pathetic 
counsel of the poet in his maturest years " against 
the errors into which his own inexperience had been 
ensnared." He maintains that when the duke says 
to the pretended Cesario— 

" Then let thy love be younger than thyself, 
Or thy affection cannot hold the bent," 

Shakspere intends to notice the disparity of years 
between himself and his wife. Mr. De Quincey's 
theory that Shakspere's married life was one of un- 
happiness, was supported by the dictum of Malone 
in 1780, who first dragged a passage of Shakspere's 
Will into light, to prove that in this, his last solemn 
act, the wife of the rich player of Stratford had not 
wholly escaped his memory ; but, as more strongly 
to mark how little he esteemed her, he had " cut her 
oflF, not indeed with a shilling, but with an old bed." 
Steevens considered the bequest of the second best 
bed as " a mark of peculiar tenderness," and assumed 
that she was provided for by a settlement. It cer- 
tainly occurred to me that such conjectures and 
inferences were a mere waste of words. I had made 
what the critical solvers of historical puzzles call a 
discovery. Well do I remember the glee with which, 
having written the following paragraph, I showed 

Digitized by 

Ch. XIV.] 



it to tay dear friend, Mr. Thomas Clarke, a sousd 
lawyer, who confirmed my opinion, as fully as did 
Mr. Long and Mr. Hill, with whom I subsequently 
discussed the matter. Shakspere knew the law of 
England better than his legal commentators. His 
estates, with the exception of a copyhold tenement, 
expressly mentioned in his will, were freehold. His 
WIFE WAS ENTITLED TO DowEB. She was provided 
for amply, by tiie clear and v/ndeniable operation 
of the English law. Of the houses and gardens 
which Shakspere inherited from his father, she was as- 
sured of the life-interest of a third, should she survive 
her husband, the instant that old John Shakspere 
died. Of the capital messuage, called New Place, 
the Jbest house in Stratford, which Shakspere pur- 
chased in 1597, she was assured of the same life- 
interest, from the moment of the conveyance, pro- 
vided it was a direct conveyance to her husband. 
That it was so conveyed, we may infer from the 
terms of the conveyance of the lands in Old Strat- 
ford, and other places, which were purchased by 
Shakspere in 1602, and were then conveyed ' to the 
onlye proper use and behoofe of the saide William 
Shakespere, his heires and assignes for ever.' Of a 
life-interest in a third of those lands also was she 
assured. The tenement in Blackfriars, piurchased in 
1614, was conveyed to Shakspere and three other 
persona, and after his death was re-conveyed by 
those persons to the uses of his will, * for and in per- 
formance of the confidence and trust in them reposed 
by William Shakespeare deceased.' In this estate, 
certainly, the widow of our poet had not dower." 

In the postscript to Twelfth Night, I had said, 
adverting to a letter printed by Mr. Collier in his 


" New Facts," " There was one who knew Shakspere 
well — ^who, illustrious as he was by birth and station, 
does not hesitate to call him, one of the poor players 
of BlackMars, 'my especial friend' — ^who testifies 
decidedly enough to the public estimation of his 
domestic conduct/' That letter purported to have 
been written in 1608 by Lord Southampton to Lord 
Chancellor Ellesmere. I must give another extract 
from Mr. Croker's correspondence with me on the 
subject of Shakspere, to show how carefully this 
friend watched my progress, and with what critical 
acumen he anticipated the objections of the present 
day to discoveries of this apocryphal character. " I 
observe you quote and rely upon the letter signed 
* H. S.' discovered among Lord Ellesmere's papers 
by Mr. Collier. If that letter be genuine I must 
plead guilty to a great want of critical sagacity, for 
somehow it smacks to me of modem invention, and 
all my reconsideration of the subject, and some other 
circumstances which have since struck me, corrobo- 
rate my doubta Mr. Collier is, of course, above all 
suspicion of having any hand in a fabrication, but it 
appears that one person at least, and perhaps more, 
had access to the papers before him, though it would 
seem that the particular bundle appeared not to 
have been opened since it was first tied up. In 
short, I see such strong external evidence of authen- 
ticity, and, on the other hand, such internal evidence 
(in my judgment) of the contrary, that I am 

In the spring of 1841 I commenced the publica- 
tion of ";^ights Store of Knowledge for all 
Headers" — a series of original treatises by various 
authors. It was issued in weekly numbers at two- 

Ch. XIV.] 



pence. The first and second numbers were de- 
voted to Shakspere and his writings, and they bore 
my name as their author. At this period I had 
finished six volumes of the Pictorial Shakspere, and 
the seventh, consisting of the doubtful plays and 
poems, was being printed. I had not yet commenced 
writing the biography, but I had collected various 
materials for that object ; had visited Stratford, and 
had inspected several documents preserved there. I 
was thus prepared to write the papers in the " Store 
of Knowledge," with many new materials, and a 
tolerably complete acquaintance with whatever had 
been published of this very obscure Ufa That this 
unpretending production of mine had supplied a 
want, I was assured in a letter which I have before 
me from John Sterling, written in February, 1842, 
wheti he was staying at Falmouth. He thanks me 
for the pleasure and instruction furnished by the 
first volume of my new edition of Shakspere — " The 
Library Edition," published on the 1st of Jsmuary, 
1842, — ^and he then adds, " I had previously read with 
great delight your convincing and comprehensive 
life of the Poet in the * Store of Knowledge.' I was 
charmed to find so much external evidence for a 
view which the study of his style — so richly compo- 
site — ^must have more or less obscurely suggested to 
all intelligent readers." The praise of such a man 
furnished ample encouragement to me to devote my 
best exertions to the completion of the " Biography " 
which I had announced. The outline in the " Store 
of Knowledge embodied, with slight variations, the 
general view which I subsequently elaborated. As 
those papers have probably passed into oblivion, I 
shall here attempt a very brief analysis of the 


portions in which I expressed my strong objections, 
or grave doubts^ as to much that had been previously 
given to the world as the authentic facts of Shak- 
spere's life. My discovery as to his wife's dower, 
had perhaps made me a little too sceptical — ^perhaps 
a little too rash, in regard to many of the stories 
embodied in the elaborate "life of William Shak- 
speare," by Edmund Malone, which occupies nearly 
three hundred pages of the edition of 1821. I had 
carried that volume with me to Stratford in my first 
visit just noticed ; and during my few days' sojourn 
there, had made many marginal notes, for the most 
part recording my first doubts of the received biogra- 
phies. At the head of the section in which it is 
attempted to prove that Shakspere's father was an 
impoverished and dishonoured man, I find written, 
" It appears to me that all this may be pounded into 

The first object which I proposed to myself, was to 
destroy the belief, first propagated by Aubrey, that 
his father was a butcher ; that when he was a boy, 
he exercised his father's trade ; but that when he 
killed a calf, he would do it in a high style and 
make a speech. This wonderful story the old anti- 
quary had gathered from some of the neighbours. 
Betterton, the great actor (as we learn from the life 
by Eowe, prefixed to his edition of 1709) had ascer- 
tained that Shakspere's father was a considerable 
dealer in wool. Malone contends, upon the autho- 
rity of a record of the proceedings in the Bailififs 
Court, that he was a glover. All these contradictory 
statements were attempted to be reconciled by me 
by a quotation from Hamson's "Description of 
England," written at the precise time when Shak- 


spare's father was known to possess landed property. 
" Men of great port and countenance are so far from 
suffering their fanners to have any gain at all, that 
they themselves become graziers, butchers, tanners, 
sheepmasters, woodmen, and demque quid non, 
thereby to enrich themselves, and bring all the 
wealth of the country into their own hands." It 
was important to show, if possible, that we might 
look at Shakspere as a well-nurtured child, brought 
up by parents living in comfort, if not in affluence. 
In the " Store of Knowledge," I expressed myself 
warmly upon this point: "His father and mother 
were, we have no doubt, educated persons; not in- 
deed familiar with many books, but knowing some 
thoroughly ; cherishing a kindly love of nature and 
of rural enjoyments amidst the beautiful English 
scenery by which they were surrounded; admirers 
and cultivators of music, as all persons above the 
lowest rank were in those days ; frugal and orderly 
in all their household arrangements; of habitual 
benevolence and piety. We have a belief, which 
amounts to a conviction as strong as could be derived 
from any direct evidence, that the mind of William 
Shakspere was chiefly moulded by his mother. No 
writer that ever lived has in the slightest degree 
approached him in his delineations of the grace and 
purity of the female character; and we scarcely 
exaggerate in saying that a very great deal of the 
just appreciation of women in England has been 
produced through om: national familiarity with the 
works of Shakspere. But a father*s influence could 
not have been wanting in his culture.*' 

In tracing the course of Shakspere's life with the 
conviction that "the child is father of the man," I 

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rejected the very doubtful evidence that the greatest 
amongst the minds of England had passed through 
early sorrow and suffering ; had encountered the 
degradations of positive want ; had fled his country 
for deer-stealing ; had left his family to hold horses 
at the door of a London theatre. Nor did I believe 
that Shakspere had been bred an attorney, because 
his plays abound with legal phraseology. It was 
clear to me that he had not been in an attorney's 
office at Stratford, for Mr. Wheler, of that town — a 
solicitor of long standiug, a diligent antiquary, a 
collector of every local fact regarding Shakspere — 
had told me that he had inspected hundreds of title- 
deeds and other documents bearing date from 1580 
to 1590, in the hope to find William Shakspere's 
signature ; and that, if he had been a lawyer s clerk 
in Stratford, or indeed in any neighbouring town, 
his signature must have been attached to some docu- 
ment as an attesting witness, that formality being 
then required on the slightest occasions. 

The deer-stealing story was surrounded with so 
many absurd traditions that, however willing I might 
have been to accept it for the sake of that charming 
volume by Mr. Landor, " The Examination of Wil- 
liam Shakspere," I could not but treat with absolute 
contempt the authority of a manuscript in the library 
of Coi-pus Christi, Oxford : " He (Shakspere) was 
much given to all unluckiness, in stealing venison 
and rabbits, particularly from Sir Lucy, who had him 
oft whipt, and sometimes imprisoned, and at last 
made him fly his native couotry, to his great advance- 
ment." Having at length got Shakspere out of his 
native town — ^in which, amidst all these pretended 
degradations, I was inclined to believe that he had 

Digitized by 

Ch. XIV.] 



composed his Venus, and Adonis — I find him a writer 
of plays in London. During the publication of the 
Pictorial Edition, I had repeatedly expressed my con- 
viction that he became a dramatic author at a much 
earlier period than had been usually determined. 
All his critics and commentators had agreed that he 
whose n^iental powers were bestowed upon him in 
the extremest prodigality of nature, was of wonder- 
fully slow growth towards a capacity for intellectual 
production. In some lucky hour, they maintained, 
when his genius was growing vigorous — that is at 
the age of twenty-seven — ^he produced a play. There 
was nothing extraordinary in Ben Jonson writing for 
the stage when he was only nineteen; but then 
Shakspere, you know, was an untutored genius, &c., 
&c. It is unnecessary here to enter upon any details 
connected with this question, which had furnished 
much of the most interesting matter in my Intro- 
ductory Notices to many of the Comedies, Histories, 
and Tragedies. I believed that the first part of 
Henry VI, was written by Shakspere, and that it 
was his earliest dramatic production. 

At the time of the publication of " The Pictorial 
Shakspere," the belief had gained ground that his 
Sonnets had not been sufficiently regarded as a store 
of materials for the biography of the poet. In 1838 
Mr. Charles Armitage Brown had published a volume 
entitled "Shakespeare's Autobiographical Poems." 
He regards them " as pure uninterrupted biography." 
In the " Store of Knowledge," I had held that al- 
though in the Sonnets there are repeated expressions 
of thoughts and feelings strictly personal, it was im- 
possible to receive them as a continuous expression 
of such thoughts and feelings. I then honestly con- 



fessed the extreme difficulty of forming^ any decided 
opinion. About six months afterwards^ I published 
in my Pictorial Edition, an " Illustration of the 
Sonnets/' In this elaborate analysis I worked out 
my theory that the poems of Shakspere, which Meres 
had, in 1698, termed his " sugared sonnets" amongst 
his private friends, when published as " never before 
imprinted," in 1609, " were a collection of * Sibylline 
leaves * rescued from the perishableness of their writ- 
ten state, by some person who had access to the high 
and brilliant circle in which Shakspere was esteemed ; 
and that this person's scrap-book, necessarily imper- 
fect and pretending to no order, found its way to the 
hands of a bookseller, who was too happy to give to 
that age what its most distinguished man had written 
at vaiious periods, for his own amusement, and for 
the gratification of his * private friends.' " My gene- 
ral belief was, that there are many circumstances 
connected with the mode in which the Sonnets were 
published, as well as in their internal evidence, to 
warrant us in receiving some as essentially dramatic, 
— ^that is, written in an assumed character ; and some 
as strictly personal, — expressing the thoughts and 
feelings of the man William Shakspere. Though 
the Sonnets are personal in their form, it is not 
therefore to be assumed that they are all personal in 
their relation to the author. 

I commenced the composition of " William Shak- 
spere, a Biography," at Stratford-upon-Avon, in the 
summer of 1842. The first book, comprising about 
half the volume, was published in November of that 
year. This portion embraces the scanty materials 
for a life of Shakspere properly so called, up to the 
period when he left Stratford to enter upon his dra- 

Digitized by 



matic career in London. But I endeavoured to 
associate Shakspere with the circumstances around 
him, in a manner which might fix them in the mind 
of the reader by exciting his interest. I might have 
accomplished the same end by somewhat extending 
the notice in the "Store of Knowledge," accompanied 
by a History of Manners and Customs, a History 
of the Stage, &c., &a The form of my biography 
might appear fanciful It has been called by a 
prosaic critic a burlesque. But the narrative Essen- 
tially rested upon facts, and if criticism required me 
to move in the old tramway, I was content to have 
chosen a byway more circuitous, but probably more 

The month which I spent with my family at Strat- 
ford was one of real enjoyment. My friend William 
Harvey came down to complete some sketches which 
he had made in the previous summer, and we went 
together over all the ground which Shakspere may 
be supposed to have trodden in childhood, in youth, 
and in middle age. We examined all the memorials 
of the Elizabethan period in Stratford, the house in 
Henley Street, the Grammar School, the Chapel of 
the Guild, the neighbouring villages, and especially 
Shottery. We went to Kenilworth and Coventry, to 
Guy's Cliff and Warwick. We followed the descent 
of the Avon to Bidford and to Evesham. We traced 
its upward course to Charlecote and Hampton Lucy. 
I wrote a very little, but my mind was completely 
filled with the matter upon which I had to wiite. 

With a purpose of collating some of the rare 
quai-tos in the Bodleian, we moved from Stratford to 
Oxford. Here I pursued, in the charming sileilce of 
that noble Library, my double duty of collation and 

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composition. It was the Long Vacation. I could 
not have found a more exquisite residence for two 
months— one more calculated to surround me with 
fitting associations, than these venerable buildings, ' 
when their courts were little visited by human tread, 
and these exquisite gardens, in which we might pass 
the long afternoons in abnost perfect solitude. Within 
a few months I had to describe Shakspere as halting 
at Oxford on his first journey to London. I wrote, 
" So noble a place, raised up entirely for the encou- 
ragement of learning, would excite in the young poet 
feelings that were strange and new. He had wept 
over the ruins of religious houses; but here was 
something left to give the assurance that there was a 
real barrier against the desolations of force and igno- 
rance. A deep regret might pass through his mind 
that he had not availed himself of the opening which 
was presented to the humblest in the land, here to 
make himself a ripe and goo4 scholar. Oxfoixl was 
the patrimony of the people, and he, one of the 
people, had not claimed his birthright But, on the 
other hand, as he paused before Balliol College, he 
must have recollected what a fearful tragedy was 
there acted some thirty years before. Was he sure 
that the day of persecution for opinions was alto- 
gether past ? Men were still disputing everywhere 
around him; and the slighter the differences be- 
tween them, the more violent their zeal. They were 
furious for or against certain ceremonial observances ; 
so that they appeared to forget that the object of ail 
devotional forms was to make the soul approach 
nearer to the Fountain of wisdom and goodness, and 
that He could not be approached without love and 

Cli. XIV.] 



In May, 1843, 1 was on my way to Edinburgh, for 
the purpose of investigating this curious problem, 
" Did Shakspere visit Scotland ? " On Monday, the 
22nd, I was about all the morning seeing the noble 
city. My guide was William Spalding, a man of 
distinguished ability, extensive knowledge, and of a 
most amiable nature. He and his friend Mr. Hill 
Burton devoted themselves to my aid with a most 
unremitting kindness and assiduity, assisting me in 
the inspection of various documents in the Library 
of the Advocates. They had each been contribu- 
tors to the "Penny Cyclopaedia." Mr. Spalding 
had corresponded with me upon Shakspere subjects. 
In the Part of the Pictorial Edition in which I 
had given an analysis of the "Two Noble Kins- 
men," I had, in April, 1842, noticed with genuine 
approbation, as it deserved, Mr. Spalding's work on 
the authorship of that play. His production had 
earned the commendation of Hallam and of Jeffrey. 
Yet he wrote to me, with singular modesty, " I feel 
particularly obliged by the kind forbearance which 
you have evinced in alluding to that which is one 
of the woi-st faults in my little book — ^namely, the 
undue predominance given to matters of style, and 
the imperfect appreciation of broader views of dra- 
matic composition. The pamphlet was written when 
I was but beginning to struggle for emancipation 
from that verbal school of criticism in which my first 
training had been received ; and I have long been so 
fully and painfully sensible of this and other heavy 
defects in the treatise, that I have taken up and 
destroyed the unsold copies of the small edition." 
Whilst at Edinburgh I saw Hawthomden, as well as 
I could under constant rain and mist. I had some 



pleasant dinners with Professor Wilson ; with Mr. 
Maclaren, the editor of the "Scotsman;" and with 
Mr. Boyd. I had a constant welcome at all times 
jfrom Mr. Spalding, with whom I contracted an inti- 
mate friendship. "Wilson," I wrote home, "was 
exceedingly kind. He is grown old, but full of 
the young poetry of his nature." I did not see the 
sun during the four or five days I was in Edinburgh. 
As I was going away the veil of mist was lifted oflF 
the glories of the city for the first time. My Shak- 
sperian discoveries were not of much importance ; 
but they formed the ground-work of some con- 
jectural matter in the "Kography," not without 
interest for the general reader. 

I went on to Glasgow, and was received with all 
kindness by Mr. John Kerr, whose acquaintance I 
had made some yeara before. He had an excellent 
library, was thoroughly well read upon all antiquarian 
and topographical subjects, and could probably give 
me as much information as any man upon the subject 
of my inquiry. What special knowledge I did obtain, 
and what theories I founded upon it, may be seen in 
my volume of " Biography." From some information 
Professor Wilson gave me, I found out De Quincey, 
who was in hiding in Glasgow. He looked better 
than he had done twelve years before, but he had a 
beard a foot long (an unusual appendage to the face 
of an Englishman twenty years ago), the cultiva- 
tion of which, he said, was necessary to his health. 
Nothing could exceed the aflfection with which he 
received me. It was the last time I saw him. 

In looking over the letters which I have preserved 
in connection with my Shaksperian labours, — from 
some of which I have unreservedly quoted, — ^the fea* 

Ch. XIV. 1 



tures, the intellectual qualities, the moral charac- 
teristics, of most of the writers come before me as 
things of the past, and I repeat again and again the 
touching opening of a beautiful little poem by James 
Montgomery — 

** Friend after friend departs ; 
Who hath not lost a friend ? " 

What recollections of kindness must I ever associate 
with the names of Henry Nelson Coleridge, who was 
the first to encourage me in the task I had under- 
taken ; of his admirable wife, who conveyed to me 
her husband's remembrances from that bed of sick- 
ness from which he never rose ; of Leigh Hunt ; of 
John Wilson Croker ; of Crofton Croker ; of William 
Maginn ; of Thomas Hood ; of kind-hearted John 
Britton ; of Allan Cunningham ; of Thomas Kodd ; 
of Mrs. Jameson; of John Sterling; of William 
Spalding. The memories of some of these will be 
preserved in more durable notices than mine; but 
few living men can look back upon a personal inter- 
course with any of those I may thus claim as friends 
with a truer esteem — ^in some cases with a warmer 
affection. One there was — ^not a man of letters, but 
of cultivated mind — ^who took the warmest interest 
in my " Shakspere," as he did in all my under- 
takinga Thomas Clarke, who, at the time of his 
death, filled the honourable post of Solicitor to the 
Board of Ordnance, was such a friend as a man has 
rarely by his side in the world's strugglea Whilst 
I write, another has passed away, whose especial 
solicitude for my well-doing, and whose never-failing 
kindness, originated in his admiration of Shakspere. 
Andrew Mortimer Drummond, of the gi'eat banking- 
house, was a man to be loved. 


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IBDE "Penny Cyclopaedia'* was finished in 
twenty-seven volumes, in the spring of 
1844. The notion of a Supplement had 
not then been matured. The work was 
deemed complete, as far as the eflforts of the editor 
and his contributors could keep pace with the rapid 
march of invention, the improvements of legislation, 
and the onward rush of every department of 
knowledge. It is in the very nature of such works that 
they must be to some extent imperfect. Not Argus 
with his hundred eyes could note down all the me- 
tamorphoses of Time, the great magician, as he calls 
them into life. 

Soon after the close of this labour of eleven years, 
I received an honour upon which I look back as one 
of my unalloyed " Pleasures of Memory." It comes 
before me now with the vagueness of an agreeable 
dream. To give some precision to my recollections, a 
friend transcribed for me, from the vast file of news- 
papers in the British Museum, some paragraphs 
from those of June, 1844. I will give one from 
the "Athenaeum'' of the 15th of that month: 
" Change is our order — the order of the nineteenth 
century; and, in marking progress, we may record 
here that authors and publishers seem about to 
'handy-dandy,' — and that the contributors to the 
' Penny Cyclopaedia,' and some personal friends. 

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Ch. XV.] 



have given Mr. Charles Knight a sumptuous enter- 
tainment at the Albion Tavern, on the completion of 
that work." The word "handy-dandy" may send 
my readers to their Shakspere : — " Change places, and 
handy-dandy, which is the justice, which is the 
thief?" This were an unsavoury allusion to the 
change indicated above ; if there were any meaning 
intended. But perhaps the " Athenaeum" had turned 
to Todd's "Johnson," and had there found this de- 
finition : " A play amongst children, in which some- 
thing is shaken between two hands, and then a guess 
is made in which hand it is retained." There was 
little of the material reward of industry to be retained 
in my palm had it been ever so " itching ; " and this 
my "authors" knew. But when one individual 
amongst " publishers " received such an unusual com- 
pliment as was bestowed upon me, I trust that I may 
regard the circumstance in the spirit of the " Athe- 
naeum " — ^as " marking progress in the relations be- 
tween two classes that were generally considered 
natural enemies, but whose interests are identical and 
ought never to be separated. 

Upon reflection, I do not think it would be seemly 
in me to present my own recollections of the circum- 
stances attending this dinner. Nor could I faithfully 
do so. I was at once joyous and frightened in my 
novel position. As to remembering what I said 
myself, in returning thanks, it comes before me "like 
a tangled chain." One thing I recollect. I quoted 
from Joan of Arc's speech in Henry VI. 

** Glory is like a circle in the water, 
"Which never ceaselh to enlarge itself, 
Till by broad spreading it disperse to nought. '* 

And then I ejaculated "not so knowledge." 

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But I must give some relation of this dimier ; and 
I therefore blend portions of the reports of "The 
Times and the " Morning Chronicle," without any 
deviation of phrase. 

*'0n the suggestion of several eminent persons, 
it was proposed to give an entertainment to Mr. 
Knight, in celebration of the successful completion 
of the "Penny Cyclopaedia," and to express their 
sense of the value and usefulness of the literary un- 
dertakings in which he has been engaged as editor or 
publisher. Accordingly a large party met on Wed- 
nesday evening at the Albion Tavern. 

" The Chair was taken by Lord Brougham ; and 
amongst the company assembled were Lord Wrot- 
tesley, the B.ev. Mr. Jones the tithe commissioner. 
Ml*. Bellenden Ker, Mr. John Lefevre, Mr. Parkes, 
Professor Key, Professor Long, Mr. M. D. Hill, Mr. 
Christie, M P., Mr. Chadwick, Mr. Porter of the 
Board of Trade, and a host of literary and scientific 
gentlemen, as well as influential individuals con- 
nected with the publishing world. 

" Lord Brougham, in proposing the health of Mr, 
Knight, dwelt on the various services which, in con- 
nection with the Useful Knowledge Society, he had 
been enabled to render towards the advancement of 
society in moral as well as intellectual knowledge ; 
pointed out especially the great service he did to the 
state in writing and publishing his two little works, 
"The Bights of Industry" and "The Results of 
Machinery" — ^two publications which, at a time of 
great public excitement, were eminently conducive 
to allaying the reckless spirit which, in 1830, was 
leading multitudes to destroy property and break 
up machines. He also pointed out what Mr. Knight 

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had done in editing and illustrating Shakspere ; in 
the projection and carrying on of the 'Penny Ma- 
gazine;' and the completion of the 'Penny Cy- 

" Mr. Knight's health was drunk with much enthu- 
siasm, and he returned thanks in a very expressive 
manner, modestly urging the greater services of Pro- 
fessor Long, the editor, in the completion of the 
* Penny Cyclopaedia.' The Chairman, after tendering 
apologies for the ahsence of Lord Denman, Lord 
John Russell, and Dr. Lushington, proposed the 
health of Professor Long, who duly returned thanks, 
and called on the assembly to thank the contributors 
whose valuable aid he had received. After a few 
words from Professor Key, Mr. Weir proposed the 
Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, to 
which Lord Wrottesley responded. 

" Some excellent speeches were made during the 
evening, especially one by Mr. M. D. Hill, who 
pointed out that the * Pictorial History of England,' 
projected by Mr. Knight, had realised a long-cherished 
idea, that of seeing a history of England which would 
make the people and the progress of national insti- 
tutions a prominent feature. To this toast Mr. 
Craik responded. The Rev. Mr. Jones, who proposed 
the health of Lord Brougham, was warmly applauded 
in declaring that neither the Church nor religion had 
anything to fear from the spread of useful knowledge, 
but, on the contrary, its diffiision was tributary to the 
highest and best interests of mankind." 

In connection with the paragraph respecting the 
dinner at the Albion which I have quoted from the 
" Athenaeum," was the following notice : — " We may 
add, as equally significant of the change that is 

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coming over the spirit of the age, that Her Majesty 
has been pleased to signify, through Sir Henry 
Wheatley, her desire that copies of Mr. Knights 
forthcoming publications, entitled Knighfs Weekly 
Volume, should be supplied to the libraries esta- 
blished at all the palaces." 

The " change that is coming over the spirit of the 
age " had probably some regard to times happily long 
past, when literature was the toy of a king and his 
courtesans, or the scorn of another crowned head who 
hated " Boots and Baintors." There was a period 
nearer to our own when the great were considei-ed 
the exclusive patrons of letters. Queen Victoria 
upheld " the spirit of the age " in her gracious sup- 
port of a series of books professedly cheaper than 
any collection that had previously existed. The 
undertaking had several features of novelty, and of 
general interest. I was proud of the patronage of 
the Queen. Perhaps I was equally pleased with the 
encouragement I received from a distinguished writer, 
with whom I had not then the happiness of that inti- 
mate acquaintance which I have subsequently enjoyed* 
On the 4th of June, I received a letter from Mr. 
Charles Dickens, who had seen my Prospectus, and 
pronounced "the whole scheme full of the highest 
interest." He adds : — " If I can ever be of the 
feeblest use in advancing a project so intimately con- 
nected with an end on which my heart is set — ^the 
liberal education of the people — I shall be sincerely 
glad. All good wishes and success attend you." 

The prospectus to which Mr. Dickens refers was 
entitled " Book-aubs for all Readers." It set forth 
that one of the first attempts, and it was a successful 
one, to establish a cheap Book-Club was made by 

Ch. XV.] 



Eobert Bums. He had founded a Society at Tarbol- 
ton, called the Bachelors' Club, which met monthly 
for the purposes of discussion and conversation. But 
this was a club without books ; for the fines levied 
upon the members were spent in conviviality. Having 
changed his residence to Mauchline, a similar club 
was established there, but with one important altera- 
tion : — the fines were set apart for the purchase of 
books, and the first work bought was " The Mirror," 
by Henry Mackenzie. The prospectus went on to 
notice that, in 1825, Mr. Brougham, in his "Practical 
Observations upon the Education of the People," had 
maintained that Book-Clubs or Reading Societies 
might be established by small humbers of contribu- 
tors, and would require only an inconsiderable fund. 
He says — ^having mentioned a few works which were 
then in existence — " I would here remark the great 
effect of combination upon such plans, in making the 
money of individuals go far. Three-halfpence a week, 
laid by in a* whole family, will enable it to purchase 
in a year one of the cheap volumes of which I have 
spoken above; and a penny a week would be suflScient, 
were the publications made as cheap as possible. Now, 
let only a few neighbours join, say ten or twelve, and 
lend each other the books bought, and it is evident 
that, for a price so small as to be within the reach of 
the poorest labourer, all may have full as many books 
in the course of the yeai' as it is possible for them to 
read, even supposing that the books bought by every 
one are not such as all the others desire to have." 

The publications which I proposed to make "as 
cheap as possible," would enable a family to purchase 
four separate books at the end of a year by laying by 
a penny a week. But if twelve neighbours, or twelve 

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fellow-workmen, or twelve apprentices, or twelve 
school boys, were to form a book-club to which each 
should contribute a penny a week, the association 
would find itself at the end of the year in possession 
of fifty-two of "Kjiight's Weekly Volumes," to be 
preserved as a Joint-Stock Library, or sold to the 
highest bidder, according to the plan of expensive 

The prospectus, in thus proposing a new element 
of association which remained to be developed 
amongst the great body of the people — ^in addition 
to the usual demand by individual purchasers — gave 
a few simple rules for the proper regulation of the 
Book-Club for all Headers. My plan was to issue, 
at the price of one shilling, every Saturday, a vo- 
lume, which should be essentially a book, not a tract, 
containing as much matter as an ordinary octavo 
volume of 300 pages. 

The first Weekly Volume " was published on the 
29th of June, 1844. In the introduction to one of 
the early volumes I said : " To Miss Martineau we 
are deeply indebted for the ardent zeal with which 
she has recommended the project of the series of 
books to which this volume belongs, and for the 
sound judgment with which she has assisted us in 
arranging the details of a plan that mainly owes its 
origin to her unwearied solicitude for the good of her 
fellow-creatures." I have reserved the mention in 
these "Passages" of my earlier intercourse with 
Miss Martineau, till I could associate her name with 
a period at which I, more fiiUy than before, com- 
prehended the energy of her character, the fertility 
of her genius, and the rich variety of her knowledge. 
I had become slightly acquainted with her in 18S0, 

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CL XV.] 



when she was seeking a publisher for her " Illustra- 
tions of PoHtical Economy." The Committee of the 
Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge were 
then as opposed to works of imagination, as if they 
had been " budge doctors of the Stoic fur/' whose vo- 
cation was to despise everything not of direct utility. 
In a year or so, the house in which she dwelt with 
her mother in Westminster was frequented by crowds 
of visitors of rank and talent, eager to pay their 
homage to the young authoress, whose little books 
went forth monthly in apparently inexhaustible 
profusion, delighting many readers who did not care 
to be instructed, and satisfying the discreet few by 
the soundness of their conclusions. Previous to her 
voyage to America in 1835, I frequently met Miss 
Martineau at the house of Mr. Bellenden Eer. I 
mention this with many a vivid recollection of the 
charm of her conversation. Her deafaess was so 
neutralised by the rapidity of her perceptions, that 
it almost ceased to be embarrassing to herself or her 
hearers. Upon her return from the United States, 
she wrote several of the numbers of the " Guides to 
Service," which I was then publishing. Her power 
of accurate observation, and her plain good sense, 
enabled her as effectively to instruct " The Maid of 
all Work" in her duties, as her insight into the 
feelings of the young, gave her the power of writing 
for me four of the prettiest volumes of children's 
books in our language, " The Play-Fellow." 

At the Easter of 1844, I went to Tynemouth, for 
the especial purpose of conferring with Miss Mar- 
tineau upon that series of books which was even- 
tually published as the "Weekly Volume." We had 
corresponded much upon this interesting subject ; 

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but as my plans were approaching maturity, I felt 
how advantageous it would be for me to accept her 
invitation to visit her, and to avail myself of the 
intervals of ease in which she could converse without 
injury. For she was confined to her room, as she 
had been for several years, by an illness which some- 
times almost forbad the hope of recovery. But when 
she was free from pain and not prostrated by languor, 
she could talk with animation and cheerfulness upon 
the subject of popular education, which then seemed 
nearest her heart, I sat with her on bright morn- 
ings by the side of her sofa under the window from 
which she looked out upon' a green down, and, 
beyond, the harbour of the Tyne and all its trafl&c, 
" the view extending from the light-houses far to the 
right, to a horizon of sea to the left" In her cheerful 
observation of outward things, I had a lesson of the 
All-wise Goodness which compensates by so many 
blessings the suffeiings of humanity. There is a 
beautiful passage in her " Life in the Sick-Room," 
which recalls to me the state of her mind when I 
was thus permitted to share her confidence. She 
notices how indescribably clear to her were many 
truths of life from her observation of the doings of 
the tenants of a single row of houses : " Nothing 
can be more ordinary than the modes of life 
which I overlook, yet am I kept wide awake in 
my watch by ever new instances of the fulness of 
pleasure derivable from the scantiest sources ; of the 
vividness of emotion excitable by the most trifling 
incidents ; of the wonderful power pride has of 
pampering itself upon the most meagre food; and, 
above all, of the infinite ingenuity of human love. 
Nothing, perhaps, has impressed me so deeply as the 

Ch. XV.] 



clear view I have of almost all, if not quite the 
whole, of the suffering I have witnessed being the 
consequence of vice or ignorance. But when my 
heart has sickened at the sight, and at the thought 
of so much gratuitous pain, it has grown strong 
again in the reflection that, if unnecessary, this misery 
is temporary — ^that the true groimd of mourning 
would be if the pain were not from causes which are 
remediable. Then I cannot but look forward to the 
time when the bad training of children, — the petu- 
lancies of neighbours — the errors of the manage — 
the irksome superstitions, and the seductions of in- 
temperance, shall all have been annihilated by the 
spread of intelligence ; while the mirth at the minu- 
test jokes — the proud plucking of nosegays — the 
little neighbourly gifts (less amusing hereafter, per- 
haps, in their taste) — the festal observances — the 
disinterested and refined acts of self-sacrifice and 
love, will remain as long as the human heart has 
mirth in it, or a human complacency and self-respect, 
— as long as its essence is what it has ever been 
* but a little lower than the angels.' " 

Miss Martineau, with indefatigable zeal unabated 
by illness, had written to many persons of influence 
to interest them in our project. Whilst with her, I 
received an invitation from Mr. James Marshall, to 
visit him at his house near Leeds, on my return to 
London. Here I spent two very pleasant days, chiefly 
in earnest discussions with Mrs. Marshall (formerly 
the Hon. Miss Spring Rice), on the quality of the 
books that were wanted for factory workers, espe- 
cially the young people. Mr. Marshall took me over 
that wonderful flax-mill, where he and his brothers 
had recently built not only the largest room for a 

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manufactory^ but the largest room in the world. It 
covered five times as much space as Wesrtminster 
Hall, extending over nearly two acres of ground. All 
the work here carried on was of a cleanly character ; 
for the coarse processes previous to that of spinning 
were done out of this building. The hundreds of 
workers employed were chiefly females, watching the 
movements of thousands of spindles, and supplying 
by patient attention what the beautiful machinery 
could not effect without human aid. It was an 
anxious time for mill-owners ; for Parliament was 
debating whether the twelve hours of labour in fac- 
tories should be reduced to ten. This change many 
capitalists, even with the most benevolent intentions, 
believed would be fatal to their interests, as well as 
so reduce the wages of the factory workers as to cause 
great misery. The proposed measure was defeated. 
The education clauses of the government factory bill 
had been previously rejected, in accordance with the 
narrow views of both churchmen and dissenter& 
Messra Marshall, and a few of the more enlightened 
class of mill-owners, had not waited for the establish- 
ment of state plans of factory education. They had 
excellent schools within their mill ; and I attended 
Mrs. James Marshall whilst she interested herself 
in the instruction of the classea I had brought 
with me from Miss Martineau's a book, which 
had been presented to her from some factory 
girls in America: "The Lowell Offering, a Repo- 
sitory of Original Articles; written exclusively by 
females actually employed in the Mills." The 
sight of the great flax factory and its schools — ^the 
earnest solicitude of Mrs. Marshall for the education 
of the children in her husband's employment — ^in- 

Ch. XV.] 



duced me, upon my return home, to look carefully 
at this work. Miss Martineau had told me that I 
should find in these volumes some things which 
might be read with pleasure and information. I 
rather shrank from^the task, for I felt that all literary 
productions, and indeed all works of art, should be 
judged without reference to the condition of the pro- 
ducer. My reluctance was soon overcome, after I 
had read two or three of these papers. I then learnt 
that Mr. Dickens, in his "American Notes," had 
mentioned that he had read of the first volume, 
*'four hundred good solid pages from beginning to 
end/* and that the articles, putting out of sight that 
they had been written by girls after the arduous 
labours of the day, might compare advantageously 
with those of many English Annuals. I soon re- 
solved to publish a selection from these volumes, 
and I entitled the Uttle book, " Mind amongst the 
Spindles." I wrote rather an elaborate introduction 
to this volume. One portion of it was suggested by 
what I had seen and heard at Leeds. As the intel- 
lectual improvement of factory workers must always 
be of permanent importance — and as the results of 
a better education than prevailed amongst them 
twenty years ago have been abundantly shewn, in 
the conduct and feelings of Lancashii*e operatives 
during the fearful crisis through which they have 
been passing — I hesitate not to quote a passage of 
some extent I said of these Lowell girls, " During 
their twelve hours of daily labour, when there were 
easy but automatic services to perform, waiting upon 
a machine — with that slight degree of skill which no 
machine can ever attain — ^for the repair of the acci- 
dents of its unvarying progress, they may, without a 



neglect of their duty, have been elevating their minds 
in the scale of being by cheerful lookings-out upon 
nature, by pleasant recollections of books, by imagi- 
nary converse with the just and wise who have lived 
before them, by consoling reflections upon the infinite 
goodness and wisdom which regulates this world, so 
unintelligible without such a dependence. These 
habits have given them cheerfulness and freedom 
amidst their uninterrupted toils. We see no repin- 
ings against their twelve hours' labour, for it has had 
its solace. Even during the low wages of 1842, which 
they mention with sorrow but without complaint, the 
same cultivation goes on. The 'Lowell Offering' 
is still produced. To us of England these things 
ought to be encouraging. To the immense body of 
our factory operatives the example of what the girls 
of Lowell have done should be especially valuable. 
It should teach them that their strength, as well as 
their happiness, lies in the cultivation of their minds. 
To the employers of operatives, and to all of wealth 
and influence amongst us, this example ought to 
manifest that a strict and diligent performance of 
daily duties, in work prolonged as much as in our 
own factories, is no impediment to the exercise of 
those faculties, and the gratification of those tastes, 
which, whatever the world may have thought, can 
no longer be held to be limited by station. There is 
a contest going on amongst us, as it is going on all 
over the world, between the hard imperious laws 
which regulate the production of wealth, and the 
aspirations of benevolence for the increase of human 
happiness. We do not deplore the contest ; for out 
of it must come a gradual subjection of the iron 
necessity to the holy influences of love and charity. 

Ch. XV.] 


Such a period cannot, indeed^ be rashly anticipated 
by legislation against principles which are secondary 
laws of nature ; but one thing, nevertheless, is cer- 
tain — that such an improvement of the operative 
classes, as all good men, and we sincerely believe 
amongst them the great body of manufacturing capi- 
talists, ardently pray for and desire to labour in their 
several spheres to attain, will be brought about in 
a parallel progression with the elevation of the ope- 
ratives themselves in mental cultivation, and conse- 
quently in moral excellence." 

The series of the " Weekly Volume " was com- 
menced with a book written by myself, William 
Caxton, the first English Printer, a Biography." 
During the course of two years, one himdred and 
five volumes were issued regularly, the weekly 
publication not having been omitted in a single 
instance. The subjects had always been selected 
upon a plan which had (in the course of this time) 
attained a certain completeness ; and a little library 
having been formed, equally suited to Book Clubs 
and private purchasers, it was unnecessary to con- 
tinue the publication at the rapid rate which had 
been previously thought desirable. The "Weekly 
Volume "then became the "Shilling Volume." In 
the monthly issue it was continued for two more 
years. I shall have occasion briefly to refer to the 
series in the next epoch of my "Working Life,'* for 
some books of original value were comprised in it^ 
and their writers merit especial mention. The 
editorial conduct of the Series was to me a labour of 
love. The success, and the reputation which it 
acquired, compensated me for the falling off in the 
demand for the " Penny Magazine," for which 'there 


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were many causes ; particularly the extended sale of 
newspapers, and the application of wood-engravings 
to their illustration. To close the story of 'my 
literary connection with the Society for the Diflfu- 
sion of Useful Knowledge, I will here advert to 
the last days of the popular miscellany upon which 
I had laboured for fourteen years. 

The "Penny Magazine" of the Society for the 
Diffusion of Useful Knowledge terminated on the 
27th of December, 1845. In 1841, after the pub- 
lication of nine volumes of the original form and 
character, a second series was issued, which is 
comprised in five volumes. I may truly say that 
the object of the change was to present to a public 
which had been advancing in education, a Miscellany 
of a higher character than the first series. The 
engravings were superior; the writing was less 
" ramble-scramble." There were a series of articles 
on the great Italian painters, by Mrs. Jameson. 
During three years the factories of London and the 
country were visited by Mr. Dodd and a competent 
artist, to provide descriptions of all our great manu- 
factories. Mr. Thome wrote papers of a topogra- 
phical nature, which indicated the talent and 
knowledge which he would subsequently display 
in ''Rambles by Rivers." Mr. Saunders wrote a 
series of clever articles on " The Canterbury Tales." 
And yet the sale fell off. The superintendence of 
the Society had merged in my individual responsi- 
bility as editor when I announced a new "Penny 
Magazine." It was thenceforth to be chiefly a 
magazine of reading ; woodcuts no longer continuing 
to be the prominent feature in the work. I took 
a zealous interest in this little Miscellany. In the 

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Ch. XV.j 


first number I republished one of Praed's ehaxming 
Enigmas, with an illustration by Harvey. I also 
then commenced a series entitled " The Caricaturist's 
Portrait Gallery." John Wilkes, by Hogarth ; 
Charles Churchill, by Hogarth ; Lord North, as the 
State-Coachman asleep ; Burke throwing down the 
Dagger — ^these, with brief biographical notices, con- 
stituted a novel feature, which I would recommend 
some weekly or monthly provider of light literature 
to take up. Of Praed's Enifflnas I published 
fourteen. In the desire to prevent the memory of 
my early friend from falling into oblivion amongst 
a new generation, I gave " Some Specimens " of his 
writings in addition, with a brief memoir. In 1839 
this extraordinary genius died in the prime of life. 
He had married in 1835. In the last American 
edition of his Poems we are presented with "the 
following sketch of his appearance, from the pencil 
of N. P. Willis, Esq. — "It was our good fortune, 
when first in England (in 1834 or '35), to be a guest 
at the same hospitable country-house for several 
weeks. The party there assembled was somewhat a 
famous one — Miss Jane Porter, Miss Julia Pardee, 
Ejrazinski (the Polish historian). Sir Gardiner Wil- 
kinson (the oriental traveller), venerable Lady Cork 
('Lady Bellair' of ©'Israeli's novel), and several 
persons more distinguished in society than in lite- 
rature. Praed, we believe, had not been long 
married, but he was there with his wife. He was 
apparently about thirty-five, tall, and of dark com- 
plexion, with a studious bend in his shoulders, and 
of irregular featm-es strongly impressed with melan- 
choly. His manners were particularly reserved, 
though as unassuming as they well could be. His 


exquisitely beautiful poem of 'Lillian' was among 
the pet treasures of the lady of the house, and we 
had all been indulged with a sight of it, in a choicely 
boimd manuscript copy, — ^but it was hard to make 
him confess to any literary habits or standing. As 
a gentleman of ample means and retired life, the 
kind of notice drawn upon him by the admiration of 
this poem seemed distasteful. His habits were very 
secluded. We only saw him at table and in the 
evening ; and for the rest of the day he was away 
in the remote walks and woods of the extensive 
park round the mansion, apparently more fond of 
solitude than of anything else. Mr. Praed's mind 
was one of wonderful readiness — ^rhythm and rhyme 
coming to him with the flow of an improwisatore. 
The ladies of the party made the events of every 
day the subjects of charades, epigrams, sonnets, &c., 
with the design of suggesting inspiration to his 
ready pen ; and he was most brilliantly complying^ 
with treasures for each in her turn." 

It would be difficult for the most bungling limner 
that ever tried his hand at " Pencilings," to produce 
any sketch so unlike as this of Praed. He was not 

of dark complexion ; ** his features were not 
strongly impressed with melancholy his manners 
were not "particularly reserved." To the forward 
American he was imquestionably cold. The reason 
has been told me by one who best knew. — There 
was archery going on. Mrs. Praed had been lucky 
in hitting the mark, and Mr. Willis oflFered her some 
extravagant compliment, such as well-bred English- 
men are careful not to venture upon even with their 
most intimate friends. From a stranger the adula- 
tion was impertinence. Mr. Praed overheard this. 

Ch XV.] 



and accordingly took his measure of the man with 
the note-book. 

My brief memoir of my early friend concluded with 
a glance at his parliamentary career : " The two great 
speakers of the Cambridge Union, Thomas Babington 
Macaulay and Winthrop Mackworth Praed, sat on 
opposite benches, when the oratory of sport had 
become a stem reality. The one has fulfilled all the 
hopes of his youth ; the other, we can only speak of 
him with unbidden tears, 

* But the fair guerdon when we hope to find, 
And think to burst out into sudden blaze, 
Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears, 
And slits the thin-spun life. But not the praise. ' ' ' 

"Knight's Penny Magazine," as the miscellany 
which commenced in January, 1846, was called, had 
a short existence. In the sixth monthly part, I thus 
announced its discontinuance : " The present Series 
of the ^ Penny Magazine ' is closed after an experi- 
ment of only six months. The Editor has no reason 
to complain of the want of public encouragement, for 
the sale of this Series has exceeded that of its 
predecessor in 1845. But the sale, such as it is, is 
scarcely remunerating; and there are indications 
that it may decline rather than increase. This is a 
hint which cannot be mistaken. It shall not be said 
of his humble eflForts to continue, upon an equality 
with the best of his contemporaries, a publication 
which once had a decided pre-eminence, that 

* Superfluous lags the yeteran on the stage." 

He leaves this portion of popular literature to be 
cultivated by those whose new energy may be worth 

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more than his old experienca The ' Penny Maga- 
zine ' shall begin and end with him. It shall not 
pass into other hands." 

Three months before I had thus put an end to my 
participation in the good or the evil of the Penny 
Press, the Committee of the Society for the Diflfu- 
sion of Useful Knowledge announced the suspen- 
sion of their operations. Their "Address," dated 
March 11, 1846, offered an explanation of their 
motives for this step. The . circumstances attending 
the publication of the "Biographical Dictionary" 
had led to this determination. The Society had 
imdertaken this great work at its own risk. It now 
felt what it was to engage in a serial publication 
that was not likely to be concluded during ten or 
more years, and to find the public support altogether 
inadequate to defray its literary expenditure. A 
Society can do what an^ individual can not dare to 
achieva It could leave the battle-field. It was not 
so with me, when the "Penny Cyclopaedia" was 
dragging me down. The Society had a charter, and 
might some day renew its active life : 

Had I not fought on to the end of my perilous 
commercial enterprise, I should have been disgraced. 
Individual members of the Committee subscribed 
liberally to keep on their " Biographical Dictionary," 
and no one more generously than Earl Spencer. Hjad 
his death not occurred during the struggle to meet 
the loss of this bold commercial undertaking, it is 
probable that the Society would not have thus sung 
its requiem : — 

He that fights and runs away. 
May live to fight another day." 

Ch. XV.] 



*' Though the Committee always coimted upon 
a loss, or at the best upon a deficiency which could 
not be made good until long after the completion of 
the work, neither they, nor others more conversant 
with the chances of the bookselling-trade, were at 
all prepared to expect so large a deficiency as ap- 
peared by the time the letter A was completed. On 
these seven half-volumes the excess of expenditure 
above receipts amounts to nearly 5000i. Of this loss, 
more than half, it appears, has been sustained by the 
Society, and the remainder of the subscriptions and 
donations which have been announced from time to 
time. Though the first sale of the work was en- 
couraging, as giving some reason to hope that it 
would shortly rise to such a point as might enable 
the Committee to proceed steadily to the end, yet it 
was found that the average rate of sale of the seven 
half-volumes produced the defalcation above alluded 
to. And careful estimates showed that, under exist- 
ing circumstances, an additional sum of at least 
15,000Z. must be sunk. A work commenced in parts 
ought to be continued to the fiill extent which the 
capital of the undertaker will allow. The Society 
has obeyed this reasonable rule, and has exhausted 
its resources." 

The Committee with perfect justice turn away 
from the contemplation of one failure to rejoice over 
a long continued success: "The Society's work is 
done, for its greatest object is achieved — ^fully, fairly, 
and permanently. The public is supplied with cheap 
and good literature to an extent which the most 
sanguine friend of human improvement could not 
in 1826,* have hoped to have witnessed in twenty 

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But there was a temporary evil to counterbalance 
this permanent success. AU the cheap literature 
was not good at the period of this triumphant re- 
trospect This wafl a circumstance that was suffi- 
ciently mortifying to those who, like myself, had 
formed an over sanguine estimate of the benefit that 
was likely to result from the general diffusion of 
the ability to read. The " Penny Magazine " and 
"Chambers's Journal" had, in 1832, driven the 
greater number of noxious publications out of the 
field. The great body of the people appeared satis- 
fied with good solid food, without any inordinate 
craving for stale pastry, and with an utter disrelish 
of oflfal. But a taste for garbage, cooked up for the 
satisfaction of the lowest appetite, seemed to have 
returned. I made no lamentation over the cheapness 
which had become excessive. I did not regret that 
there was a competition going on in cheap weekly 
publications which was wholly unprecedented. In 
1846, fourteen penny and penny-hal^nny Maga- 
zines, twelve Economical and Social Journals, and 
thirty-seven weekly sheets, forming separate books, 
were to be found in the shops of many regular 
booksellers, and on the counters of all the small 
dealers in periodicals that had started up through- 
out the country. The cheapness was accomplished 
in some by pilfering from every copyright work 
that came in their way. There were very few of 
these publications whose writers were paid for origi-. 
Iial articles upon a scale as liberal as that of the best 
reviews and magazines. There were some of a char 
racter to render the principle of cheapness dangerous 
and disgusting. In the concluding address of 
"Knight's Penny Magazine," I said: "The editor 


rejoices that there are many in the field, and some 
who have come at the eleventh hour, who deserve the 
wages of zealous and faithful labourers. But there are 
others who are carrying out the principle of cheap 
weekly sheets, to the disgrace of the system, and 
who appear to have got some considerable hold 
upon the less-informed of the working people, and 
especially upon the young. There are manufactories 
in London whence hundreds of reams of vile paper and 
printing issue weekly ; where large bodies of children 
are employed to arrange types, at the wages of 
shirt-makers, from copy furnished by the most 
ignorant, at the wages of scavengers. In truth, such 
writers, if they deserve the name of writers, are 
scavengers. All the garbage that belongs to the 
history of crime and misery is raked together, to 
diffuse a moral miasma through the land, in the 
shape of the most vulgar and brutal fiction. * Penny 
Magazines,' and ' Edinburgh Journals,' and * Weekly 
Instructors,' and 'People's Journals,' have little 
chance of circulation amongst the least^nforTned 
class, who most require sound knowledge, while the 
cheap booksellers' shops are filled with such things 
as ' Newgate, a Romance,' ' The Black Mantle, or the 
Murder at the old Jewry,' * The Spectre of the fiall,' 
^The Love-Child,' 'The Feast of Blood,' 'The Con- 
vict,' and twenty others, all of the same exciting 
character to the young and ignorant. But the detri- 
mental exercise of the printing-press is only to be 
met by its wholesome employment. He has no fear 
for the righteous cause of cheap literature." 

My conviction that the cheap press would purify 
itself was realised in another decade. I had given a 
name to the wholesome literature for the people, 

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"The Fountain"— the noxious I had called "The 
Sewer." But I contended, as I had ever done, that 
the Paper Duty was an insurmountable barrier to 
the diffusion of publications that should combine the 
qualities of literaiy excellence and extreme cheap- 
ness. I marutained that to thrust out the noxious 
publications, the supply of the higher class must be 
abundant ; the quality of the writing must be of the 
best, for to write well for the people is the rarest 
of literary qualifications ; lastly, the price must as 
nearly as possible approach to the cost of the mis- 
chievous production. Whatever interferes with the 
circulation of the higher periodicals by increasing 
their price — ^whatever tends to render a false economy 
necessary, by lowering their payment for the best 
literary labour — interferes with one of the most im- 
portant instruments of National Education, using 
the term in its highest sense. Such were the inju- 
rious consequences of the Paper Duty. That long 
disputed question has now been settled. The total 
repeal of this impost took place after my commercial 
career was in a great degree closed. How this tax 
weighed me down in the production of the " Penny 
CyclopsBdia," I have related in a pamphlet of 1850, 
which was often quoted in Parliament, and which 
has some interest as a matter of litei*ary histoiy. I 
give the most material passage as a Note to this 



EXCESSIVE Taxation." By Charles Knight. 1850. 

On the 1st of Jannaiy, 1833, I commenced the publica- 
tion of The Penny Oyclopjedia, in Numbers and Monthly 

This work was entirely original It was projected by 
myself, and published under the Superintendence of the 
Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. But the 
entire cost and risk were borne by me. The total cost for 
Literature and Eugrayings was 42,0001. 

The Penny Cyclopaedia and its Supplement were com- 
pleted in 1846. The two works contain 15,764 pages, and 
the quantity of Paper required to produce a single copy is 
2 Reams, each weighing 35 lbs. At the period of its com- 
pletion, the entire quantity of Paper consumed in the work 
was Fifty Thousand Reams, the total weight of which 
amounted to One million seven hxtndred and fifty 
THOUSAND P0X7NDS. Of this weight 20,000 Reams, or 
700,000 lbs., paid the Excise Duty of Threepence per lb., 
amounting to 8750Z. ; and the remaining 30,000 Reams 
paid the reduced Duty of Three-halfpence per lb. (commeno* 
ing in 1837) upon 1,050,000 lbs., amoimting to 65622. 
The total Duty paid up to ike completion of the Cyclopesdia, 
in 1846, was 15,3122. Since that period 2000 Reams of 
Paper have been used in reprinting, to correct the inequali- 
ties of the Stock, making an addition of 70,000 lbs., excised 
at 4372. But fmiher, the Wrappers for the Monthly Parts 
have used 1500 Reams of Paper, taxed at 6002., and the 
Milled Boards employed in binding the Volumes have been 
also taxed about 3002. The total payment to the 

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I propose to show, — 

1. That this excessive burthen upon the great work to 
which I hare devoted seventeen years of toil and 
anxiety, has been the primary cause that the enter- 
prise has not yet been remunerative. 

2. That the continuance of the Paper Duty, at the 
present rate of Three-halfpence per lb., prevents me 
undertaking the publication of a new and improved 
edition, upon its first plan of a continiious (dphabe- 
tical arrangement, 

1. The positive burthen of Sixteen thousand five hundred 
Pounds imposed by the State upon the publication of one 
book, is far from representing the difficulty and loss which 
that payment has entailed upon the undertaking. 

It is well known that the amount of a duty upon raw 
material by no means represents the amount of the charge 
which it entails upon the manufacturer. Mr. MacCulloch 
and Mr. Porter rightly state that the price for a ream of 
one particular sort of printing paper was in 1831, twenty- 
four shillings, — in 1843, fifteen shillings and sixpence. 
From 1833 to 1837, the price of a Ream of Penny Cydo- 
paadia Paper was thirty-three shillings ; from 1838 to 1846, 
it was twenty-four shillings. The difference in price was 
nine shillings per ream ; the amount of reduced duty was 
four shillings and fourpence halfpenny. The paper-makers 
and the stationers doubled the tax.* But even at the 
reduced rate it has been satisfactorily shown by my fellow- 
labourers, the Messrs. Chambers, that the Duty enters one- 
third into price. Unquestionably, if the Duty were now 
removed, I could buy a Ream of similar paper for seventeen 
shillings. The tax, preventing competition, and giving 

* *^ Whatever renders a larger capital necessary in any trade or 
nsiness, limits the competition in that business ; and by giving 
something like a monopoly to a few dealers, enables them to keep 
up the price beyond what would afford the ordinary rate of profit." 
— John Mill, Principles of Political EcoTiomy^ vol. ii. p. 388. If 
the tax annihilates profits in a secondary process, such as the con* 
version of paper into books, it is easy to understand how the 
monopoly becomes complete. 



Tindtie advantages to capitalists, had the effect of makiDg 
me pay for my Paper, from 1833 to 1837> sixteen shillings 
a Ream more than the price of untaxed Paper would be, or 
Sixteen thousand Poimds upon 20,000 Reams ; and from 
1838 to 1846, seven shillings per Ream more than I should 
otherwise have paid, which upon 30,000 Reams amounts to 
Ten thousand five hundred Pounds. The tax therefore 
operated as a hvHhen upon my publication to the extent of 


long and difficult progress to completion. The paper since 
used for Reprints, and the paper for Wrappers, has been 
raised in price 25002. by the same process. 

TTie Struggles of one Book against excessive Taacation ore, up 
to this poinky to he measured by a burthen of Twenty-nine 

But I have not yet done. The tax has been working 
against the Penny Cydopsedia for seventeen years, in the 
chronic form of interest and compound interest. 

It was very long before the periodical sale settled into a 
regular quantity. The work became too extensive for the 
great bulk of purchasers. For the first few months of the 
publication the sale was double what it was at the end of 
the first year. The sale of the first year doubled that of 
the fourth year. The sale of the fourth year doubled that 
of the eighth year, — and then it found its level and became 
steady to the end, reduced from 55,000 at the commence- 
ment, to 20,000 at the conclusion. Every publisher of a 
periodical work knows the accumulation of Stock that must 
inevitably take place with a falling demand. There never 
was a period after the third year at which I had less than 
Five thousand Reams of the Penny Cyclopaedia in my 
Warehouse ; upon which Duty had been paid, for some 
portion at the high duty, and for some at the low, averaging 
15002. In 1841 there were in my Warehouse 1200 Reams 
upon which the high duty, expiring in 1837, had been paid. 
I consider the accumulating interest in this investment, in 
actually paid Duty, upon dead Stock, to have amounted, in 
the seventeen years dming which I have been labouring to 
sell that Stock, to 15002., and indudrng the interest upon 
the extra price charged by the paper-manufacturer upon the 
Duty, to 30002. 

And here, then, will the usual conclusion arise, that the 

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Publisher has not borne this load of Thirty-two thousand 
Fofmds imposed by the State upon the Penny OyclopffidiA, 
but the purchasers of the Penny Cyclopaedia. My answer 
u very direct. Had that sum of 32,0002. been actually 
saved to me, I should not have been a pound richer by the 
publication of the Penny Cyclopaedia. But with the saving 
I should not have been to that amount poorer. The 
outlay was so great, that it could never pay its expenses 
under a sale of 36,000 copies with the high duty. In the 
first five years that average number was printed ; bnt the 
accumulation of Stock locked up 10,0002. Under the low 
duty it paid its expenses at 30,000 copies. The actual 
average sale during the nine years of that duty was 20,000. 
It would have required that there should have been no 
Paper Duty at all to have paid its expenses on a sale of 
20,000. Had the Duty not been reduced by one-half at 
the end of 1836, I could not by any possibility have earned 
on the work. As it was, I struggled to the end. 

2. The reduced Paper Duty, as I have undertaken to 
show, prevents me making the best use of the valuable 
Copyright which remains to me, — ^now that the accumulated 
Stock is in great part exhausted. 

I was advised to propose a Subscription for an entirely 
new Edition. The highest Personage in the realm accorded 
me Her support, and so did Her admirable Consort, who is 
doing for Science and Industry what is worth tax more than 
any money value. Some of the most eminent in the walks 
of intellect also came forward to aid me. Of the support of 
the Members of the Legislature which taxed me during 
fourteen years, I have not much to boast. I have given up 
the design. Upon a sale that would have merely returned 
my new outlay, the Paper Duty would have burthened the 
work to the extent of 30002. Its abandonment would have 
lightened my risk to the extent of making the work yield 
me as high a profit from 3000 subscribers, as from 4000 
subscribers with the Duty continued. With this encourage- 
ment I should have gone on. 

There is a steady demand for the existing edition of the 
Penny Cyclopaedia, to the extent of 250 Sets annually. 
The Paper Duty prevents me meeting this demand with any 
moderate commercial profit. The technical explanation is 
not difficult to be understood : — If I print 250 Copies only 



— I use 600 Reams of Paper, of which the Duty is 4«. 6rf. 
each, and the necessary increase of manufacturer's price 
2& 6d, making a charge, arising out of the Duty, of 7s. 
per Ream, or 1752. upon 260 Copies. But in printing only 
250 Copies I have to pay for the Presswork, as high as 15s. 
per Ream ; whereas if I printed 500, I should only pay lOs, 
As the number of a book first printed increases, the cost of 
Presswork, or Machine- work, diminishes ; and for this rea- 
son a tax upon the raw material of a book. Paper, increasing 
the risk of printing a large impression, compels a smaller 
impression, at a higher cost. But if there were no Paper 
Duty, I should print 500 Copies, by which I should save 
850l in the price of Paper, and 2502. in the price of Press- 
work ; making a saving of 600Z. This outlay of 6002. is 
imposed upon me absolutely by the existence of the Paper 
Duty ; and that fact will possibly compel me to give up 
repriuting a Book which has done more for the advancement 
of sound knowledge and general education in these kingdoms, 
than any work ever produced in any country. That 6002. 
saved would afford me an income which would allow me to 
invest capital in such a Reprint. Printing only 250 Copies 
at the present price of Paper, a set of this book would cost 
me 10002. My net profit upon that outlay would not be 
10 per cent. 

And with all this danger and dijSiculty — ^with this lion 
in my path " — am not yet beaten. I have my valuable 
copyright of the Penny Cyclopaedia remaining to me ; and 
I have passed many an anxious hour in seeing how I can 
best turn it to account. I am about to publish a Series of 
separate Cyclopcedias, with large improvements, and I begin 
with a ' Cyclop«9dia of British Geography,' and a * Cyclopeadia 
of Arts and Industry.' Let me show the exact track which 

the lion in my path " drives me to seek ; and then some 
of those legislators who find that a fashionable novel, sold 
at a guinea and a half, pays about fourpence Paper Duty, 
and thence conclude that it is the lightest of taxes, and by 
all means should be preserved — especially as books, as they 
hold, are not necessaries of life — some of those who 

Hate not learning worse than toad or asp," 

may know what it is to maintain a tax upon knowledge, 



straggling to preserve its high rank and its useful extension 
amidst the widest competition of cheapness. 

Upon these four volumes, estimated to contain about 3000 
pages, I shall expend 15002. upon new editorial labour. I 
shall further expend about lOOOL upon new plates. and 
maps. The printer's charge for eetting up the types will be 
8002. ; and the cost of stereotyping will be 5002. Add for 
advertising 2002. ; and I have thus to expend 40002. as a 
first outlay, whether I sell 500 copies or 5000. At the 
present cost of paper, 3000 copies (the least number I could 
print with advantage) will amount to 15002. ; the Press- 
work will cost 5002. : total 60002. The 3000 copies, pro- 
duced upon this scale, will exactly cover my outlay, without 
a shining profit. But let us see how the account would 
stand with the price of paper reduced one-third by the abo- 
lition of the duty. My course would then be to print 4000 
copies, and not 8tereot3rpe, which process is chiefly employed 
to save the outlay of capital in tsaed paper. The first out- 
lay is therefore 35 002. ; the Paper for 4000 Copies, at the 
lower untaxed price, would cost me 13332. ; the Presswork 
6002. (reduced per ream on account of the larger number). 
I produce, therefore, 4000 copies for 54332., instead of 3000 
copies for 60002. I expend less by 5672., and I have 1000 
copies left to sell for my profit. I could sell 4000 copies, 
under these circumstances, more easily than 3000 as 1 now 
stand, for I could afford to advertise more freely, and to 
offer higher inducements to retailers. This is something 
different from a fourpenny tax upon a fashionable novel 



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